The HC was irked with the state government’s defence for not initiating action against the chief officer, S V Zala, in the absence of a report by the special investigation team.
The court said taking departmental action was well within the jurisdiction of the competent authority and had nothing to do with SIT’s report. The HC ordered initiation of disciplinary action against the chief officer and sought a report on the consequences of the proceedings by the next date of hearing.
The court also held that since the municipality exhibited incompetence and default in the bridge collapse, the government should have dissolved or superseded the municipality under Section 263 of the Gujarat Municipality Act.
The state government said it intends to decide on further action after the SIT submits its report.
The government also told the court that the SIT is waiting for the FSL report and has roped in the Gujarat Engineering Research Institute (GERI) to study the matter.
The advocate general told the court that he has come to know that the rusted wire-rods and removal of wooden slippers might have resulted in this accident.
The HC said the SIT should expedite its probe and submit its report at the earliest so the court can decide what further steps can be taken. The court also made it clear that if it feels the need, it may go for another inquiry into this matter.