Gujarat HC slams Rajkot officials for deadly gaming zone fire

Court questions lapses in safety measures, negligence by Municipal Corporation
Image courtesy: AFP

In the wake of a devastating fire at the TRP gaming zone in Rajkot that claimed the lives of 28 individuals, including children, the Gujarat High Court has sharply criticised the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) for its apparent negligence and failure to certify the structure. The fire, which occurred on May 25, has sparked widespread protests and condemnation and demands for accountability from both the public and political leaders.

High Court’s Rebuke

A special bench of Justices Biren Vaishnav and Devan Desai expressed deep disillusionment with the state machinery’s response, noting that the authorities often act only after lives are lost. The court’s reprimand came after the RMC’s lawyer admitted that the TRP game zone did not have the necessary permissions. The court questioned how such a large structure could exist without the municipal body’s awareness and criticized the lack of fire safety measures and regulatory oversight.

“Were you blind to the existence of this large structure? How do you explain that the entire zone has existed for the last two-and-a-half years? What fire safety measures were applied?” the court asked, highlighting the failure to enforce safety regulations and the apparent inaction by the RMC over an extended period.

In response to the fire tragedy, the Gujarat state government has suspended five officials from various departments, including two police inspectors, for negligence. The court has directed current and former municipal commissioners to submit affidavits addressing concerns about structural stability and fire safety measures. Additionally, the chief fire officers from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot have been asked to provide affidavits detailing fire safety measures within their jurisdictions.

Political and Public Reactions

The tragedy has prompted strong reactions from political leaders and the public. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former president Rahul Gandhi have expressed deep condolences and called for accountability. Kharge emphasised the need for strict punishment for the culprits and criticized the state government’s poor attitude towards preventing such incidents.



BJP officials and municipal workers of corporation have allegedly accepted bribes to allow the illegal operation of the gaming zone. It is claimed that evidence was dismantled and destroyed by municipal officials and police within 3 hours of the incident even before an Investigating officer was assigned to the case, hampering the investigation.

MP Jignesh Mevani voiced the demands clearly, stating, “The real culprits are the ones responsible for the safety of the city who let this illegal structure operate in exchange for bribes. We demand an investigation led by non-corrupt officers, specifically IPS Sudha Pandey and IPS Sujatha Majmudar, to ensure nothing goes wrong. The current compensation of ₹4 lakhs is too little; it should be at least ₹1 crore.”

Reflecting on the recent protests, Mr. Mevani added, “Despite a 72-hour fast and dharna by Congress and the families of the victims, the BJP government did not seem to care. Since our demands have not been heard yet, we have planned a protest on June 15, and June 25 will be observed as Rajkot Bandh to mark one month of the incident.”

The Way Forward

The Gujarat High Court’s scrutiny and the public’s outcry underscore the urgent need for reform in municipal oversight and safety regulations. The tragic loss of life in the Rajkot gaming zone fire serves as a grim reminder of the consequences of negligence and corruption. As the investigation unfolds, the demands for accountability and justice continue to grow louder, reflecting a collective determination to prevent such tragedies in the future.



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