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High court asks two lawyers to verify pothole death in Kalyan | Mumbai News – Times of India



MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Wednesday appointed a commission of two practising lawyers to ascertain whether the death of a biker in Kalyan last month occurred while trying to dodge potholes.

Chief justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and justice Arif Doctor took note that Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) denied that the death of Suraj Gawari (32), a resident of Chinchpada, was due to potholes. The accident took place at Dwarli village on the Kalyan-Malang road on July 20 night. TOI reported on July 22 that Gawari fell while avoiding potholes and was run over by a dumper.
The court heard a 2019 contempt petition by advocate Ruju Thakker regarding non-compliance by 13 municipal corporations of the HC’s directions in 2018 passed on a PIL on bad roads. The directions were to maintain streets, roads, footways/footpaths in good condition and ensure potholes are filled.

Thakker submitted TOI’s report and said Gawari had worn a helmet. She cited the HC’s December 7, 2022 order, which made it clear that if any untoward incident “results in loss of life or limb, the respective municipal commissioner(s), metropolitan commissioner and chief engineer shall be held personally responsible.”
KDMC’s advocate A S Rao submitted that the unfortunate incident was not due to potholes but due to congestion on the narrow road. In the order, the judges said, “we need to ascertain if the death has occurred on account of poor condition of the road.”
They appointed Mansi Naik and Rashmi More to verify if the accident in which the motorcyclist died occurred while he was trying to dodge the pothole. The advocate-commissioners have to visit the accident spot, speak to the family of the deceased and people in the vicinity of the spot as also KDMC officials and submit a report.
Taking cognisance of news reports, mostly TOI reports, submitted by Thakker, the judges said, “the newspapers have reported that the condition of the roads is not good and further that on various roads potholes exist.” “The reports also mention uncovered/unguarded manholes which make the pedestrians or anyone using the roads prone to accidents to the extent that even their life may be in danger,” they added. The judges sought the presence of the seven commissioners of BMC, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Thane, Mira Bhayander and MMRDA on Friday “to explain why they should not be made liable for disobedience and non-compliance” of HC’s 2018 judgment. “They are in contempt. It has been 5 years since,” the CJ said.



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