Safety at stake in residential societies
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Naked wires, ill-maintained electrical equipment, poor power distribution network are making living hazardous for residents of housing societies. The death of two children recently highlights the threat citizens face in their daily life
Punitive action only if death due to negligence
The two recent deaths due to electrocution have brought forth the issue pertaining to safety of citizens living in residential societies in the city. Ironically, the law is silent on criminal prosecution of the builder/society if negligence is found, unless there is an accident or death caused due to that.
On Friday, 13-month-old Sahil Wakade died when he came in contact with a lamp post while playing in the society's garden. On Monday, Piyush Walunj (5) succumbed to the 40 per cent burns caused by a short circuit in Thergaon on August 17.
In both cases, there was negligence on part of the builder and the telecom manager.
"If any resident/consumer would have noticed the open and loose wires and complained in order to avoid an accident, the authority concerned, police, MSEDCL or municipal corporation could only give directions to get it repaired," said senior advocate Vinayak Abhyankar.
He said as per the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act or the Civil Procedure Code, the authority concerned can only send a notice to the builder or society to conduct the repairs, as it is a private property. "If the order is not followed, MSEDCL can disconnect the electricity supply. Police or the municipal commissioner can give orders to disconnect the electricity supply," Abhyankar said.
There is no provision to take any punitive action against the builder or society. Arrest can be made only if an accident occurs due to negligence, he said.
Satish Magar, president, Consortium of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI), Pune said consumers can complain to the consumer grievance cell of CREDAI if such negligence is found, provided the builder concerned is a CREDAI member. He added that no such complaints had been received by the grievance cell in the last three years.
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