One of AVUT’s major achievement is the implementation of the “Jai PrakashNarain Trauma Centre (AIIMS)” by the Union of India in New Delhi. This project had remained a nonstarter since 1983. It was in 2003, during the hearing of the Civil writ filed by AVUT, that the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi directed the Union of India to release funds, as per the Ninth Five Year plan, and set up the Trauma Centre. This was among the main prayers in AVUT’s Writ Petition.
The prayer for a Trauma Centre was crucial to AVUT’s cause- because the Uphaar tragedy occurred merely a kilometer away from two of the country’s premiere hospitals – the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdurjung Hospital – and on that day the hospitals were totally unprepared to handle such a disaster. There was only one ambulance to transport the injured/unconscious persons to the hospitals. Most of the injured and unconscious persons were taken to the hospitals in PCR vans. Some were also taken by private vehicles, some by SDM’s vehicles and some others by local tempos.
AVUT in it’s writ petition had argued for the establishment of a Trauma Centre. The court directed the Ministry of Health to file an affidavit with regard to the status of the same. In compliance with the directions, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare filed an affidavit on 9 January 2002, stating that in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, held in September 2001, the proposal for setting up of an Apex Trauma Centre at AIIMS, New Delhi had been approved at an estimated cost of 54.14 crore rupees. The affidavit further stated that the implementation schedule for the Trauma Centre was to be 33 months. The High Court directed the Union of India to release funds earmarked for the project.
Today, the state-of-the-art Trauma Centre in the capital is operational and is instrumental in saving many precious lives.
- The Supreme Court while convicting the accused in August 2015 in a Criminal Appeal imposed a fine of Rs 60 crore. This amount has been paid to the Delhi government to set up another trauma centre in Dwarka, New Delhi. AVUT is following up with the Delhi Government for the implementation of the same.
- Our nation has witnessed innumerable tragedies. Although the magnitude of these tragedies varies, there is one common thread that runs through each of the aforesaid mass tragedies in the last quarter of a century – all of them were man-made. Each tragedy represents man’s never-ending greed and/or intentional ignorance to public safety laws.
Under our current system, such offenders are booked under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code which translates into causing death due to a rash and negligent act. However, this in itself is a mockery of justice since the irony of the situation is that the said provision is classified as ‘bailable,’. In other words, unless the accused is convicted by the Supreme Court, there is no fear of his being incarcerated, irrespective of the number of deaths he might have caused. In this grim scenario, incidents of such catastrophic magnitude are bound to recur since there is no legal deterrence that can emphasise the overwhelming importance of safety, and instill fear in the minds of possible wrongdoers.
Our endeavor has been to ensure that law makers bring in nuanced legislation to deal with man-made disasters so that the perpetrators of future crimes of this nature are not spared by merely invoking Section 304 A IPC.
A petition for proposed legislation for prevention of manmade tragedies in public places was presented to the Union of India. In 2009, the Law Ministry forwarded AVUT’s petition to the Law Commission, directing it to come out with a law to deal with such disasters on priority basis. In 2012, the Law Commission published a consultation paper on dealing with man-made disasters. AVUT’s endeavor is to get this legislation passed on a priority basis.
- AVUT in working for a Fire Safe Delhi has filed a PIL in August 2018 in the High Court of Delhi, with specific regard to deficiency in the manpower in Delhi Fire Service. The matter is pending adjudication.