Terming the Vadodara boat capsize tragedy as “shocking”, the Gujarat High Court has called upon the secretary of the state’s Home Department to submit an action taken report on the incident in the next hearing on January 29. Twelve students and two teachers died in the tragedy at Harni Lake in Vadodara.
A bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha P. Mayee took suo motu cognizance of the of the incident.
The order was passed after the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association, Brijesh Trivedi mentioned the matter before the Court while referring to news items about the tragedy.
The bench examined the news articles and went on to observe that it was a “tragic incident.”
Before passing the order, the bench stated that Trivedi had mentioned the news items related to the incident. “The said newspaper reports are taken on record. It is reported that the incident occurred at around 4:45 p.m. The boat was carrying 27 people on board when it capsized. It is further reported that the boat had the capacity to seat only 16 persons. It is also reported that there were several people; other teachers and students, who have witnessed the said accident of the boat being capsized in the lake. The newspaper reports further indicate that the said boating is managed by one firm – Fun Time Arena, under the contract given by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation under the PPP model. The newspaper reports are disturbing as it is reported that there was complete flouting of the safety norms as the children on the boat had not even been provided life jackets.”
Thirty-four people were on the boat when it overturned. The incident sparked massive outrage, with questions being raised about non-adherence to basic safety norms.
“This is not only a shocking but one of the most tragic incidents. Any recklessness cannot be tolerated,” Chief Justice Agarwal orally observed.
Such kind of incidents can be curbed easily by adhering to safety norms prescribed in law, the Chief Justice said.
She also recounted an incident wherein during one of her college trips to a lake, her junior had drowned.
“He was a bright child and also the only child to his parents. He died there in the lake. We couldn’t sleep the whole night. This is a tragic incident,” CJ Agarwal told Trivedi.