The Delhi High Court sought the response of AAP government and three power distribution companies on a plea seeking direction to comply with necessary safety standards while installing electric poles to prevent any accidental death. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked the government and discoms to file their response within four weeks to the allegation that there was a serious threat to the lives of Delhi residents due to the "callous attitude of the authorities concerned".
"Notice to the respondents, returnable within four weeks," the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on November 4.
The PIL, filed by NGO Common Cause through advocate Meera Bhatia, has sought directions to "ensure that uncovered live wires on electricity poles and power infrastructure on the ground do not pose a hazard to residents".
During a brief hearing Bhatia argued that the agencies concerned had "ignored and not implemented the recommendations of various expert committees to replace overhead lines with underground cables". She also sought safeguarding the right to life guaranteed under the Constitution.
The PIL said around 29 people have been electrocuted and over 40 others injured after touching live wires in the city since 2008. Incidents of electrocution reported in the media have also been cited in the PIL.
Noting that in most cases, complaints about the exposed wiring had been sent to the appropriate authorities before an incident occurred, the NGO alleged that "negligence and callous attitude of the discoms in ensuring safety standards in installing, maintaining electricity supply lines and apparatus results in many avoidable deaths on the streets".
Seeking directions against the Delhi government's power company and three discoms, the NGO said in the plea that they have not complied with the "prescribed safety standards" due to which not only the public, but in several other cases, the employees of municipal bodies and electricity companies have also been electrocuted due to negligence.