Morbi Tragedy Suo Moto Case| Gujarat High Court Dismisses Municipality Elected Members' Impleadment Plea
The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday dismissed an application moved by certain elected members of the Morbi Municipality seeking their impleadment in the suo moto case instituted by the High Court pertaining Morbi Bridge collapse, which claimed 135 lives.
The bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri opined that the councillors are not a necessary or proper party to the suo moto case proceedings and therefore, at this stage, their presence wasn't necessary.
Essentially, the elected councillors had moved the High Court by submitting that since the HC had, in one of its earlier orders, asked the state to take over Morbi Civic Body by dissolving the same exercising its power under the Gujarat Municipalities Act, therefore, their impleadment became necessary in the suo moto proceedings.
However, the High Court clarified that it had not made any observation asking the state government to take over the administration of the Civic Body. The Court also said that in fact, it was the Advocate General's submission that the state government was contemplating superseding the Civic Body.
The bench further said that in its earlier order, it had only questioned the state as to when there was a default on part of the civic body, then why it did not take any action against the civic body, but it had not asked the state government to take over the Civic Body.
Thus, finding that even before any action in this regard was taken, the 46 elected members of the Morbi Municipality had moved the instant, the Court said held that the applicants can't be termed to be necessary or proper parties in the proceedings.
However, the Court did clarify that if the state takes any action in this regard, the applicants/concillors would be at liberty to move court seeking an appropriate remedy. With this, the Court dismissed their plea.
Significantly, on Wednesday the Court also issued notice to M/S Ajanta (a private contractor which was responsible for carrying out repair works on the bridge) to intervene in the suo moto proceedings. The case will be heard next on January 19, 2023.
Case title - SUO MOTU Versus STATE OF GUJARAT, CHIEF SECRETARY