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HC initiates probe into Malwani building collapse in Mumbai

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday initiated a judicial inquiry into the building collapse incident in Malwani area of Mumbai, which claimed 12 lives.

It said that the incident proved that there existed absolute lawlessness in the municipal wards in Mumbai as well as its adjoining areas.

At least 12 people, including eight children, were killed and seven others injured after two floors of a three-storey residential building collapsed on an adjoining single-storey house at Malwani in suburban Mumbai late on Wednesday night.

A bench of Chief Justice DipankarDatta and Justice G S Kulkarni directed the inquiry commissioner to submit the preliminary report of the incident by June 24.

The bench said that it had been immensely pained by the incident, in which eight innocent children lost their lives.

The court said that those in-charge of the concerned municipal ward must be held accountable.

It further noted that between May 15 and June 10 this year, four incidents of building collapse were reported in Mumbai and its adjoining areas, in which a total of 24 people died.

"What is happening? How many lives will be lost? What type of buildings are these? Were they identified as dangerous or illegal, but not demolished or were they not identified?" HC said.

"You (municipal authorities) can't play with lives of people. We have to hold those in-charge of the concerned ward responsible. Eight innocent children died on the first day of the rains," it said.

The HC said that there was no will among the civic officials to check the instances of illegal construction, or to demolish illegal structures.

"This is nothing but lawlessness. You can realise the pain we are facing due to the death of people, including innocent children," the high court said.

"This pain should also be felt by the corporators. We are shocked. This is a man-made disaster and nothing else. Every monsoon it has to happen. Why it cannot be prevented?" the high court asked.

The bench was presiding over a PIL that it had initiated suomotu (on its own) last year following an incident of building collapse at Bhiwandi in Thane district.

While the PIL was not scheduled initially for a hearing on Friday, the bench sought its production after

taking suomotu cognisance of the Malwani incident. The HC will continue the hearing on June 24.

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