Chennai: Following the tragic death of two-year-old Sujith Wilson, the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to file a status report of unused and abandoned borewells and tubewells by November 21.
The court impleaded the civic authorities and directed them to produce details on the action taken against violators who had failed to comply with the conditions stipulated for digging borewells and tubewells. The court said the counter-affidavit to be filed by November 21 should have details on the number of permissions granted and the list of contractors and entities that were accorded permission to dig borewells and tubewells and list of unused and abandoned borewells and tubewells as well as the penal action taken against the violators.
Madras HC also asked the TN Government to file a report on steps taken to implement the 2009 Supreme Court judgement on borewells in the country. A bench of Justice N. Seshasayee and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan were delivered the verdict on a petition filed by V Ponraj, scientific advisor to former president APJ Abdul Kalam. The petitioner sought a direction to authorities for strict implementation of guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and for enforcement of The Tamil Nadu Panchayats (Regulations of Sinking of wells and Safety Measures) Rules 2015.
In his petition, Ponraj alleged that the lack of compliance of the Supreme Court order on borewells by the state government led to the death of Sujith. During the hearing of the petition, the Madras High Court slammed the government for violating the apex court's order and expressed concern over the demise of the two-year-old boy.
In oral observations, the court also rapped the media, saying it was not streaming anything constructive in creating public awareness on the implementation of rules and regulation on borewells and tubewells, except giving a live relay on the rescue operations that eventually ended on a tragic note. The bench urged television channels to create more awareness on social issues.
Further, the bench ordered the state government to provide adequate compensation to the family of Sujith. The Supreme Court in a ruling in 2010, issued various guidelines to prevent deaths of children by falling into open borewells and tubewells.