How Mazgaon court was vacated in 10 minutes

Jul 19, 2013, 00:46 IST | Vedika Chaubey

The court was vacated within minutes yesterday after an inspection report labeled it unsafe and recommended that it be shut down immediately; eight rooms have been allotted at Sewri sessions court as an alternate venue

If you have a case pending at the Mazgaon court, you will now have to travel to Sewri to get the work done. Yesterday the court was vacated in panic mode in a matter of 10 minutes, after an inspection report declared it unsafe and recommended that the building be shut down immediately. Subsequently, eight rooms were allotted at Sewri sessions court as an alternate venue in which the affairs of the Mazgaon Court are to be conducted.

According to advocates who practice in the Mazgaon court, they have been living in fear since the building was inaugurated in 1997. Advocate S M Z Nagamia of the senior managing committee, Mazgaon Bar Association, said, “A few days after its inauguration, the lift suddenly broke down. Every year the building is repaired, but the situation remains the same.

The structural engineers gave a report stating that the building is unsafe. I was in the lift that broke down, and it was extremely scary for me as well as clients who came here for work.” Nagamia added, “I was meeting my clients on the second floor of the building when I was asked to immediately leave the premises with them.” 

Nearly 1,000 advocates are registered with the Mazgaon court, where 2,000 cases are heard every day. Reconstruction at the venue is expected to begin soon.

If locals are to be believed, several parts of the building have collapsed in the past. President of Mazgaon Bar Association, Advocate Kantilal Sanghoi, said, “The Bar Association wrote a letter to the High Court requesting for the inspection of the building. After the inspection, it was declared unsafe and orders were issued for immediate evacuation.”

About three weeks ago, a portion on the third floor of the building collapsed. A few days before that, a portion near the toilet on the second floor had collapsed. 

“The condition of the building is so bad that I am not sure that I will come out alive once I enter the court building. I was on the fifth floor when my fellow advocates asked me to vacate the premises immediately,” said Advocate Rahul Rokade.

The building is a one-plus-four structure. More than 500 people were present inside it when the orders for evacuation were issued.

The workers manning the drafting and photocopy shops near the court are now worried that they will lose out on income if it remains shut for weeks, maybe months. 

Anil Sharma, who works at a photocopy shop opposite the court, said, “I saw many people and lawyers running out of the court on Thursday afternoon. We will be suffering a lot if work doesn’t resume here soon.” 

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