Reliance Jio brass not to stand trial for child’s death: Court

Mumbai, Aug 4 (IANS) The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has ruled that the directors of Reliance Jio need not stand trial for the death of a two-­year-old child, who fell into an unguarded pit of the company in Sitabuldi area of Nagpur in March last year.

The bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice V.M. Deshpande agreed with the petioner’s advocate, based on case studies presented by him, that the law was organic and had undergone changes, due to which a company, too, could be liable for a criminal offence and can be prosecuted.

“However, we find that the said judgment nowhere suggests for offence committed by a company, all its directors can also be vicariously made liable,” the bench observed, in reference to the case studies that were placed before the court.

The bench said despite persistent requests to petitioner’s lawyer S.P. Bhandarkar that the relevant portions of the Supreme Court verdict — that purportedly called for directors also to be vicariously prosecuted — be produced before it, it had not been complied with.

“However, though he (the petitioner’s lawyer) has brought our attention to various passages of the aforesaid two judgments, we could not come across any part which would even remotely support the aforesaid proposition,” the bench said.

The reference was to two verdicts — Iridium India Telecom versus Motorola and the Uphaar Cinema case that involving its two directors, Sushil and Gopal Ansal.

The court said enjoining the six directors of Reliance Industries in the case was not proper and directed their names to be deleted from the array of respondents in the case.

On March 6 last year, two-year-old Pinki Solanki, native of a village in Sawai Madhopur district in Rajasthan, fell into an open, unattended pit that had been dug up by the contractors of Reliance Jio to lay cables at Sitabuldi area of Nagpur city.

A public interest litigation was filed by noted activist Shahbaz Abrar and notices were issued to 13 people, including Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, and some directors.

–IANS

ap/vt

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