The PILs have not been taken cognizance of by the High Court yet

When legislature and executive fail, people turn to judiciary to get relief. The same has happened in Odisha. After the State Labour Minister and Labour Secretary expressed their “helplessness” in handling the Bhusan Steel Company’s callousness attitude in ensuring the safety and security of the labourers, two public interest litigation (PIL) writ petitions were filed in Orissa High Court on Friday.

The petitions—filed by a Human Rights activist and a civil rights activist, have urged the High Court to intervene and order for judicial probe and a judiciary-guided-investigation by any independent agency into the November 13 mishap that occurred inside the Dhenkanal-based steel plant. Both the petitions have suggested for the CBI enquiry the petitions have made the premier investigating agency as one of the respondents.

Human rights activist Prafulla Samantara in his petition has challenged the illegal action of the Company for not disclosing the actual number of casualties during the mishap while alleging that the Company authorities are getting undue favours from the State Government. “The State Government is showing favours to the Company by letting it go scot-free despite laxity in the safety measures of the plant”, Samantra has said in his petition filed through advocate K C Rout. Giving as many as five grounds, including the laxity of the Company, for seeking a judicial probe into the whole incident, Samantara has pointed out that the Company had blantantly ignored all suggestions and advisories of the State Government. Urging the HC to order adequate compensation to the families of the victims, the petition also seeks adequate corrective measures to arrest any such repetition of the incident in any industrial unit of the State in future.

Almost making a similar prayer, civil rights activist Nishikant Mishra, in his capacity as secretary of Nationalist Lawyers’ Forum, has also preferred to file another PIL challenging the inaction of the State Government and the Company authorities for failing to provide due protection and security to the industrial workers, who lost their precious lives in the mishap.

Seeking CBI enquiry into the mishap, Mishra has also sought appropriate action against the Company authorities for their gross negligence in implementing the labour laws and other safety laws that are mandatory for any industrial houses.

It may be mentioned here that both the PILs have not yet been taken cognizance of by the High Court yet.