Kamala Mills fire case: Bombay High Court finds shortcomings in MCGM's safety audits

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday said the fire safety audits of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) were not much effective, in the light of last year's devastating fire at the Kamala Mills compound.

File image of Bombay High Court. Wikimedia Commons

File image of Bombay High Court. Wikimedia Commons

A bench of justices Shantanu Kemkar and MS Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, seeking a judicial inquiry into the fire that had claimed 14 lives.

The Maharashtra government told the court that it had decided to set up a three-member judicial committee to probe the "genesis" of the incident.

Appearing for the state, senior advocate Vineet Naik submitted, in a sealed cover, names of several retired Bombay High Court judges, two architects from the high court panel and two retired secretaries from the urban development department.

The court will now select the members of the committee from the list.

The bench also directed the government to expand the committee's remit. "Do not merely probe the reason for the fire. Also, suggest remedial measures that can be incorporated to prevent such incidents in the future," it said.

Appearing for the MCGM, advocate Anil Sakhre said the civic body had already set up its own panel to probe the incident and it was conducting fire safety audits across the city.

"We have seen the results of your audit. There are shortcomings and that is why incidents like these are happening," the court said.

It directed Naik to consult the MCGM and submit the details of infrastructure and remunerations the state proposes to provide to the committee members by 19 March.

A devastating fire had broken out in two adjoining rooftop restaurants—Mojo's Bistro and 1 Above—at the Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai on 29 December last year.

The police have arrested 14 persons, including the owners of the two restaurants and MCGM officials, for alleged illegal alterations and violation of safety norms at the restaurants.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 18:53 PM

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