Borewells and the law: India

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Cap abandoned borewells to prevent accidents: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued strict directions to the chief secretaries of all states to activate the administrative machinery upto the block level to cap within 12 weeks all abandoned open borewells, which in the past have been death traps for numerous toddlers and children.

The SC’s direction virtually makes the Central government’s guidelines to prevent future mishaps in open borewells a legally enforceable mechanism.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices B S Chauhan and C K Prasad accepted the suggestions of additional solicitor general Indira Jaising and amicus curiae S S Patwalia to accept the guidelines, which importantly put the criminal and civil liability on the drilling agency. “Drilling agencies, whether government, semi-government or private, should be responsible in case such accidents happen during course of drilling, construction of borewells and in their abandonment,” the guidelines said. TNN

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