New Delhi: Expressing anguish over the death
of 18 unemployed candidates while travelling on top of a train
in Uttar Pradesh last year, the Supreme Court today said the
government has both Constitutional and statutory duties to
protect lives of people.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale while
ticking off the authorities on the incident, directed the
Uttar Pradesh government, Railways and ITBP to place before it
the fact finding reports purportedly prepared by the three
agencies on the February 21, 2011 mishap.
"When there is a huge unemployment in the country there
are bound to be lakhs of candidates for a few hundred posts.
In this there has to be measures to prevent recurrence of such
incidents. Human lives have to be protected. Constitutional
and statutory duty has to be discharged by the authorities,"
the apex court observed.
It brushed aside the submission of the Uttar Pradesh
government counsel that the state cannot be held responsible
as the incident was in the domain of the ITBP and the
Moreover, the counsel submitted that it was for the
victims to sufficient measures for protecting their lives.
"If you want people to take every measure, then what is
the point in having a governance? There must be a rule law,"
the bench snapped at the counsel.
A tragedy had occurred at Hathaurda in Uttar Pradesh
during the recruitment process of ITBP in which more than two
lakh candidates had appeared.
ITBP aspirants travelled on the roof of a train and 18
of them were killed after being hit by an over bridge.
Advocate Anil Kumar Gupta had filed a PIL seeking
compensation for the victims and action against the three
agencies for mutual recrimination.