Morbi Bridge Collapse: HC Slams Oreva Group, Issues Show Cause Notice   - Vibes Of India

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Morbi Bridge Collapse: HC Slams Oreva Group, Issues Show Cause Notice  

| Updated: April 20, 2024 14:23

 The Gujarat High Court has issued a show cause notice to Oreva Group asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it. The division bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Anirudhha Mayee was left fuming on Friday while hearing the suo motu PIL pertaining to the bridge collapse after senior advocate Jal Unwalla, on behalf of the company, informed that it needs time to respond to the Morbi district collector’s proposal to enhance monthly financial support from Rs 5,000 — proposed by Oreva Group — to Rs 12,000 to be provided to various categories of victims. 

The court, however, was in no mood to grant time. Addressing Unwalla, CJ Agarwal remarked, “For months together, we are after you and you’re not coming out (with a final decision)..It is sketchy. Initially, you said it is not possible because the director is in jail, now the director is out. Your client has no right to agitate on any issue…we are not supposed to listen to the company, you’re in default, everything is before us….you cannot agitate like a victim of circumstances that is created by you. No one is responsible other than your company…you should have come out with a categorical solution from the company’s side…We can cast more aspersions on the company and we will do that.” 

She added that the way the company has behaved also shows its “vehemence”. “First the report given to us by the experts, the way this bridge was maintained, that (shows that there) was the complete fault of the company… You replaced the wooden planks of the bridge with aluminium planks, it was bound to fall. No expert advice and then you’re agitating (that) you’ve a right of hearing. What right of hearing do you have? Do you understand what you’ve done with these people? You should have taken instructions from the company, from your client, that whatever is coming from the Collector, you shall accept that, that should be the attitude of the company…The company is in complete wrong, you cannot give any justification for anything,” CJ Agarwal said. 

The court also noted that the company was yet to file any affidavits on record, despite specific orders on January 30 and March 22, detailing compliance with its directions. 

CJ Agarwal warned orally, “Not a single affidavit is there (from the company) to give a picture that you’ve taken steps even to do anything in this regard…we can even pass an order for attachment of your bank accounts for this…don’t take us lightly. We’ve given you time, that doesn’t mean you can take us for a ride.” 

Taking exception to the company’s conduct, the court observed, “In our considered view, the suggestion given by the Collector is fair and just in all respects. In our considered view, as the company has not come forward to file its response in spite of two orders — 30.1.2024, 22.3.2024 — for a period of about three months, we reject the further prayer made by senior advocate Jal Unwalla to grant further time to the company to evaluate the suggestions given by the collector and submit its alternative proposal. In our considered opinion, it is incumbent upon the company to comply with the proposal/suggestion given by the collector in detail for each category of victims.” 

The court has sought a response by April 26. It also went on to issue a notice to Jaysukh Patel to explain “as to why proceeding for wilful and deliberate non-compliance of orders” be not initiated against him under contempt jurisdiction. 

Oreva Group was in charge of maintenance, repair and operation of the Morbi Jhulto pul, which collapsed in October 2022, killing 135 people. 

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