//Tamil Nadu Govt, not rumours, responsible for stampede: SC

Tamil Nadu Govt, not rumours, responsible for stampede: SC

Says ‘negligence of your officers’ resulted in deaths of 42 persons who were among hundreds gathered to collect flood relief

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday held the Tamil Nadu government responsible for the death of 42 people in a stampede at a flood relief camp in Chennai in December 2005 saying it occurred due to the negligence of officers.

‘The incident occurred because of the negligence of your officers. This is not the first time that such a incident has happened in Tamil Nadu. Repeatedly, it is happening in Tamil Nadu for such petty things,’ a bench comprising Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P P Naolekar said.

The hard-hitting observations came during the hearing of a petition by the state government seeking cancellation of the bail granted to DMK councillor K Dhanasekaran, one of the accused in the stampede case.

The bench dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s plea that the ghastly incident occurred due to rumours spread by the accused.

‘Rumour means there is no source,’ the bench observed when senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for the State, made the submission for cancelling the bail granted to the accused by the Madras High Court. ‘The incident occurred because of the officers not making preparations for providing flood relief,’ the bench said.

When Tulsi submitted that there were witnesses who had seen the DMK councillor spread rumour that tokens would be distributed for obtaining the relief material, the bench said, ‘Does he mean to say that everything happened because of Dhanasekaran and others?

‘This is because of your sheer negligence. We will not interfere in the high court order,’ the bench said rejecting the Tamil Nadu government’s plea. (PTI, Jan 28, 2006)