Mumbai: The Bombay High Court said on Saturday that the right to a livelihood enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution includes the right to live in safe buildings and houses and that the owner of the structure, whether a public or private entity, has a constitutional obligation to ensure this security.
A divisional bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Judge GS Kulkarni delivered their verdict on public interest litigation being fought suo motu (alone) following a series of building collapses in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.
The court also noted in the petition the illegal structures that are spreading across the state. The court said that such incidents where people lose their lives due to building collapses must be eliminated completely.
“The right to a livelihood includes the right to live in safe buildings and houses…in this matter of dilapidated and derelict buildings there is no room to accept the situation that the occupants live in insecurity and risk their lives,” said the court her.
Whoever owns the building, whether private or public, has a constitutional obligation to ensure the safety of the structure so that the lives of occupants are not endangered, the Supreme Court said.
The bank said in its order that a mechanism should be established whereby the citizen or state officials involved, within their jurisdiction, could enforce a statutory inspection of buildings and buildings reported as being in poor condition evicted.
On the issue of illegal construction, the court said that “strong weapons of the law” were needed to punish disorderly people.