Laws need to be made more stringent and criminal liability needs to be fixed to make lift maintenance contractors function appropriately, say legal experts.
All those responsible for the maintenance and supervision of the elevators, along with the managing committee of the building, should be brought to justice in case of grave mishaps.
Criminal lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said if the callousness of lift maintenance by the contractors is to be restricted, the Indian Penal Code sections that the accused are booked under should be made non-bailable.
"In cases of death due to elevator mishaps, section 304A of IPC for causing death due to negligence should be applied and it should be read with a higher sentence. As of now, the maximum sentence is two years. It should instead be made into a cognisable and non-bailable offence," he said.
YP Singh, former IPS officer and leading high court lawyer, said each case has to be examined individually and if deliberate negligence is observed, those responsible should be booked under stricter sections.
As per section 13 of The Bombay Lifts Act, 1939, any person who breaches a licence condition will have to pay a fine extendable to Rs 500 if convicted. Experts say this sentence should be increased.
"The act needs to be amended. It should specify cases of criminal negligence and criminal liability needs to be fixed on all those responsible for the mishap," said Singh.
A high court committee, in it report, suggested that section 13 of the act be amended. The punishment on conviction, it said, should be extendable to Rs 50,000 or six months of imprisonment or both.
"The criminal liability has to be fixed on the lift maintenance contractor, the managing committee and the developer," said activist Mohammed Afzal.