Bengaluru: A bailable warrant was issued by the Karnataka High Court against the Engineer-in-Chief for remaining absent in the court proceedings in spite of the orders.
The bench headed by the Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, which is looking into PIL regarding mismanagement of roads in Bengaluru city and potholes, gave the order on Tuesday.
The bench also directed the Police Commissioner of Bengaluru city Kamal Pant to produce the officer to the court and adjourned the matter to Thursday (February 17).
“The court does not have any problem in issuing orders. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the civic agency should not assume that the court will only give oral orders and would not initiate any strict measures. The court can issue stricter orders than the present one,” the bench said.
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The court could issue a non-bailable warrant against the officer, with little consideration that a bailable warrant had been issued. The court should not be compelled to issue harsher decisions, the BBMP advocate was told.
The High Court had directed on February 7 that the BBMP engineer-in-chief should be present before the court for the inquiry to be taken up on February 15. The court had also sought information on technology used for pothole filling and measures taken on building quality roads in the city.
When the court took up the matter, an advocate representing BBMP stated that the engineer-in-chief could not be present as he is ill and asked the court to give exemption in this regard.
The bench took a serious note and angrily remarked that there is no practice of giving exemption from personal appearance. This is not a way to ask the court for exemption from personal appearance. If it was not possible to be present before the court, a submission should have been made in this regard asking for exemption. No such submission has been made. Only after the case was taken up and a query was made as to who is supposed to appear, the counsel was informed about his absence, the bench noted angrily.
The High Court has been closely monitoring civic agency’s measures to fill up pothole ridden roads in Bengaluru city since last year. Despite strict orders, warnings and deadlines, the civic agency is yet to ensure pothole free roads in Bengaluru, known as Silicon City. Time and again incidents of road accidents resulting in deaths because of potholes have been reported in the city. The recent death of a teacher, who was crushed under the wheels of a truck due to a pothole created public outrage.