HC asks state to regulate unregistered travel firms

Asking the state to evolve a policy to regulate unregistered travel organisations, Bombay High Court (HC) said Wednesday it expected the government to ensure safety of trekkers and mountaineers.

The order came in response to a petition by Anil and Sunita Mahajan, whose son Harshal died in May 2006 on a trek to Kullu Manali organised by city-based Sahyadri Adventure Foundation.

The petitioners wanted to know if there was a government policy to regulate camps organised by private "unregistered" organisations.

A division bench of justices D D Sinha and K K Tated responded, "We expect the state government in consultation with departments concerned to evolve a comprehensive policy, guidelines or regulations for unregistered organisations. We also expect the government to ensure safety of participants who will be taking part in mountaineering activities, camps, trekking expeditions, etc, organised by these unregistered organisations till such time it comes up with an appropriate comprehensive policy."

The judges asked the government to file an affidavit giving details of steps it proposes to take in this regard.

After Harshal died due to high-altitude sickness at a mountaineering camp in Manali, Anil and Sunita Mahajan approached the consumer court, which directed Sahyadri Adventure Foundation to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

The parents contended many such accidents were taking place for want of a legislation regulating these activities.

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