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India has witnessed a distressing series of public mishaps and tragedies in recent times, stemming from sheer negligence and blatant disregard for laws designed to safeguard the interests of the general populace. It is the common man who ultimately falls victim to the power struggles and political tussles that often prioritize personal gain over public safety. No organization seems willing to accept responsibility for the aftermath of such unfortunate incidents, and even the compensation provided to the affected individuals and families is hardly sufficient to cover the immense losses incurred. These recurring incidents, including the Pune Porsche accident, the Hoarding collapse in Mumbai, the Morbi bridge collapse in Gujarat, and the Odisha triple-train collision in addition to numerous other incidences, have sparked nationwide outrage and necessitate a critical analysis of existing legal frameworks and potential government shortcomings. This article delves into the legal implications of such incidents and the glaring gaps in regulations that potentially contribute to these preventable tragedies.


On 14th May 2024, a massive hoarding collapsed in the heart of Mumbai, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. The hoarding, which admeasured a staggering 120 ft x 120 ft, far exceeded the permissible size of 40 ft x 40 ft set by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (“BMC”) policy. This policy was designed to ensure public safety, taking into account Mumbai’s coastal location, expected wind speeds, and other relevant environmental factors. Ironically, the ill-fated hoarding held the prestigious Limca Book of Records for being the largest in the world, a feat that should have raised immediate red flags among the authorities responsible for enforcing safety regulations.The advertising agency responsible for erecting this colossal billboard was owned by Bhavesh Bhinde, a notorious repeat offender with a staggering 23 cases already registered against him. Bhinde’s earlier firm had been blacklisted after numerous inquiries and over a hundred penalties had been issued for various violations. The logical question that arises is: why did it take a tragedy resulting in the loss of precious lives and substantial property damage for the government to finally scrutinize the status of illegal hoardings in a coastal area prone to such disasters?If not for this catastrophic incident, what would it have taken for the authorities concerned to fulfil their assigned duties and responsibilities diligently? More importantly, individuals with a track record of repeated offenses should not be granted the lenience to operate as public figures, undermining the safety and well-being of the masses. The indulgence afforded to Mr. Bhinde, seemingly on a silver platter, is a grave cause for concern and raises questions about the integrity and accountability of the regulatory bodies involved.The fact that the permissible limit set by BMC was so blatantly violated, and yet no pre-emptive action was taken, is indicative of either gross negligence or a disturbing indifference on the part of the authorities entrusted with safeguarding public interests. This apathy towards enforcing regulations and holding violators accountable has proven to be a recipe for disaster, with the common citizens bearing the brunt of such catastrophic failures.


India’s gruesome distinction as having the highest number of road fatalities was tragically reinforced on 19th May 2024, when two lives were senselessly claimed by a minor driving a Porsche under the influence in Pune. This incident exposes alarming disregard for traffic laws and lack of accountability, exacerbated by flaws in the legal framework.The Juvenile Justice Board’s decision to grant the minor pre-trial release, coupled with tokenistic “educational measures” like attending a program and writing an essay, sparked outrage. It was only after public uproar that the minor was sent to an observation home, highlighting inherent flaws in Juvenile Justice laws that often prioritize leniency over accountability, even in cases of grave offenses.Most disturbing is the minor’s family’s desperate attempts to tamper with evidence, undermining judicial integrity and exhibiting entitlement and impunity. This alarming behaviour points to a pervasive mindset that disregards the rule of law.The Pune accident underscores three critical issues: lacunae in Juvenile Justice laws failing to address crime severity, frequent evidence tampering undermining justice, and general disregard for laws ensuring communal safety, exemplified by the minor’s decision to drive under influence.


The Morbi bridge tragedy(dt.30th October 2022), resulting in 141 fatalities, exposes glaring violations of safety regulations and dereliction of duty by authorities. The colonial suspension bridge exceeded its authorized capacity of 125 people, with reports of over 500 people on it at the time of collapse – a blatant breach of norms.More alarming is the Morbi municipality’s appointment of Oreva Group, a clock manufacturer with no expertise in bridge maintenance, to oversee repairs. This questionable decision undermines public safety and amounts to gross negligence. Prima facie evidence suggests the bridge reopened without requisite approval, compounding the legal violations.These repeated transgressions depict more than isolated lapses – they reflect an entrenched disregard for the rule of law by civic bodies and the public. This mindset prioritizing expediency over human life demands urgent corrective measures through stringent legal enforcement and sustained public awareness campaigns on rights and duties.The Morbi incident calls for scrutiny of potential criminal culpability. Authorities responsible for the ill-advised appointment, failure to enforce capacity restrictions, and premature reopening face charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under s.304 IPC.Regulatory reforms enhancing oversight, mandating third-party audits for critical infrastructure projects, and prescribing deterrent penalties for violations are imperative. Professional indemnity insurance for contractors handling public safety projects should also be explored.The Morbi tragedy underscores the dire need to uphold standards, instil accountability and inculcate a culture prioritizing public welfare over commercial expediency. Stringent legal action followed by systemic overhaul is the only path to prevent such colossal human tragedies.


The Odisha triple train collision (dt. 2nd June 2023), one of India’s deadliest rail accidents since independence, has exposed glaring lapses in protocol adherence and accountability within the Indian Railways. Claiming 296 lives, this preventable tragedy stemmed from unauthorized modifications to signalling circuits by the Signals and Telecommunications Department, in blatant violation of established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The Commission of Railway Safety’s investigation report highlighted egregious deficiencies, including disregard for repair protocols designed to ensure safety. This dereliction of duty and complacency towards instituted safeguards resulted in the catastrophic loss of innocent lives, underscoring criminal negligence. Disturbingly, barring ex-gratia compensation, no meaningful accountability was demonstrated by railway authorities. The railway minister and top brass failed to take responsibility, symptomatic of an institutional apathy towards preventable disasters. Such an abdication of accountability sets a dangerous precedent.While the CBI’s arrest of three individuals under s.304 is a step forward, it falls short of addressing systemic issues. More stringent legal deterrents and ramifications for criminal negligence involving critical infrastructure are imperative. Several legal provisions warrant scrutiny in enhancing railways’ accountability.The existing legal framework, particularly the Railways Act, 1989, and relevant sections of the IPC (287 and 304A), should be scrutinized and, if necessary, amended or reinforced to introduce specific penal consequences for violations of safety protocols and negligent conduct within the railways system that culminate in casualties. There subsists a need for the strict application of these legal provisions to hold authorities accountable for their failures in exercising proper oversight and ensuring adherence to safety measures.Institutionally, an independent regulatory body with punitive powers is crucial for objective audits and enforcing compliance with safety protocols across India’s rail network. Regular risk assessments, certified by third parties, should be mandated to identify potential hazards and systemic gaps. However, legal barriers like operational immunity and capping of compensatory amounts undermine deterrence and accountability.Ultimately, the Odisha tragedy serves as an inflection point, necessitating an overhaul of legal frameworks, institutional practices and a shift towards a culture of rigorous safety prioritization. Stringent criminal culpability, elevated regulatory oversight and civil liability reforms are pivotal steps towards restoring public trust and preventing future rail disasters.


The recurring public tragedies in India, from the Mumbai hoarding collapse to the Odisha triple train collision, expose deep systemic failures in upholding public safety standards and enforcing accountability. These incidents serve as a clarion call for comprehensive legal and institutional reforms aimed at instilling a culture of rigorous compliance and deterrence against negligent conduct. From a legal standpoint, the existing regulatory frameworks governing sectors like advertising, construction, transportation, and critical infrastructure appear woefully inadequate in prescribing stringent penalties for violations that endanger public safety. Furthermore, the repeated instances of regulatory authorities granting indulgences to habitual offenders, highlight the urgent need for stringent laws and policies prohibiting such leniency. Public safety must take precedence over commercial interests, and individuals or entities with a track record of non-compliance should face severe consequences, including potential disqualification from operating in hazard-prone sectors. Regular risk assessments, conducted by certified third-party auditors, should be made mandatory for all critical infrastructure projects and public safety initiatives. These assessments must identify potential hazards and systemic vulnerabilities, enabling proactive mitigation measures and fostering a culture of prevention rather than reactionary responses to disasters. Moreover, legal barriers that currently impede accountability and deterrence, such as operational immunity and caps on compensatory amounts in certain domains, must be re-evaluated and reformed. Victims of preventable tragedies and their families deserve fair and comprehensive compensation, reflecting the true extent of their losses and serving as a deterrent against future negligence. Ultimately, a multi-pronged approach encompassing legislative reforms, institutional overhaul, and a paradigm shift towards a culture of rigorous safety prioritization is imperative to prevent the recurrence of such colossal tragedies. Stringent criminal culpability, elevated regulatory oversight, and robust civil liability frameworks are pivotal steps towards restoring public trust and upholding the sanctity of human life above all else.The path forward demands unwavering commitment from all stakeholders – policymakers, regulatory authorities, industrial entities, and citizens alike – to embrace a zero-tolerance stance towards negligence and complacency. Only through collective action and a steadfast adherence to the principles of public welfare, accountability, and the rule of law can India forge a future where preventable disasters become a relic of the past, paving the way for a safer, more secure, and prosperous society for all.


This blog is authored by Reva, a first year student of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.

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