The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government Chief Secretary to identify officers responsible for not implementing noise pollution rules so that contempt action could be taken against them.
A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka rapped the state for not following its previous orders regarding implementation of noise pollution rules and removing illegal ‘pandals’ (temporary structures) in public places and on roads and footpaths during festivals.
“Two months have passed and the government has failed to implement the directives of the High Court. The state has taken the HC orders very casually…All that the government has done is to address letters to the Principal Secretaries of Urban Development, Revenue and Environment departments, inviting their attention to the HC orders,” said the bench.
“Proceedings of contempt have to be initiated against the concerned officers,” the judges said and asked the Chief Secretary to identify the officers with their names and designation who are responsible for not implementing noise pollution rules.
The court asked the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit on these lines by July 3.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Dr Mahesh Bedekar from neighbouring Thane district, raising concern over the nuisance created by various organisers of religious festivals with regard to noise pollution and erection of pandals on streets and footpaths.
Hearing the petition in March, the HC had observed that every citizen has a fundamental right to silence and to live in peace and comfort and the same cannot be disturbed by organisers celebrating various religious festivals.
The HC had then asked the government to frame a policy and set up a redressal mechanism by which common citizens can lodge complaints on which prompt action should be taken by authorities concerned before the festivals get over.
However, the court was informed at a previous hearing that no such policy had been framed by the government. Further, the state government had failed to take any action against organisers for violation of noise pollution rules and erecting illegal pandals in public places, like outside schools, hospitals and bus stops, it was averred.
The HC had in March directed the authorities concerned to withdraw licences of those Ganpati mandals which violate the rules. However, the same has not been done, the court was told.