The Madhya Pradesh High Court has recently disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by villagers of at Ashapur in District Khandwa against the design of a proposed bridge over river Agni fearing continuing flooding during seasonal rains.
The Division Bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and and Justice Maninder Singh Bhatti said,
“We are afraid, that this Court does not have any technical know-how to enter into the merits of the matter, but considers it necessary that apprehension of the villagers are to be taken into account by the competent authority.”
The Court observed that since consequences of any faulty construction would be faced by villagers in future, therefore, to a limited extent, public participation in such construction should be ensured.
The villagers have preferred representations raising their grievances, which have not been paid heed to by the respondents.
The Bench is of the considered view, that looking into the issue involved, the Chief Engineer, PWD, Bridge Construction Division, Khandwa, would be the appropriate authority to be approached by the petitioner.
Therefore, the petition is disposed of without commenting upon merits with the direction to the petitioners to file a fresh representation raising their grievances before the Chief Engineer, PWD, Bridge Construction Division, Khandwa, which if done within a period of 30 days along with a certified copy of the order, then the same shall be considered and decided on its own merits by the said authority without being influenced by the fact of petitioners’ having approached the High Court.
“We hasten to add, that this Court has not commented upon merits of the allegations made in this petition and the competent authority who has the technical know-how, is free to decide either way”
-the order reads.