State human rights panel: Unauthorized hoardings in Mumbai are visible to all except authorities

The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has summoned high-ranking officials from various departments including the state, municipal corporation, railways, and police to conduct a fact-finding investigation and submit an affidavit by June 6. This action comes in response to concerns raised by the MSHRC regarding unauthorized hoardings in Mumbai, coupled with a lack of prompt action by the authorities despite numerous complaints.

In its order, the MSHRC emphasized that the unauthorized hoardings were visible to everyone, yet the authorities failed to take immediate action beyond conducting inquiries on paper. The Commission highlighted the Corporation’s duty to monitor unauthorized constructions and hoardings, noting the surprising negligence on the part of both the Corporation and the Police Authority despite their awareness of the situation.

The summons were issued following a complaint filed by advocate Amit Dubey regarding a recent hoarding collapse in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area, resulting in 16 fatalities. Dubey’s complaint targeted various entities including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Municipal Commissioner, Government of Maharashtra, Senior Police Inspector of Pant Nagar Police Station, Commissioner of Police, Government Railway Police, and the Commissioner of Police (Railways). He condemned the incident as a clear instance of corruption and abuse of power leading to loss of life, asserting the state’s failure to uphold the right to life as mandated by the Constitution.

After reviewing Dubey’s complaint, MSHRC’s Chairperson, Justice KK Tated, remarked that the authorities appeared to be evading their responsibilities by shifting blame onto each other.

Consequently, the MSHRC issued summons to the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, BMC Commissioner, Senior Inspector of Pant Nagar Police Station, Commissioner of Mumbai Police, and Commissioner of Government Railway Police, instructing them to conduct a thorough inquiry and submit an affidavit to the Commission by June 6.

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