HC frowns as authorities fail to comply order on damaged Mumbai roads

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today expressed displeasure with several authorities, responsible for maintaining public roads and footpaths, for failing to comply with its order directing them to take steps to make roads pothole-free.

Granting the authorities two weeks time, the court also warned to initiate contempt proceedings against them if they continue to defy the diktat. The High Court had on May 20 observed that citizens have a fundamental right to good roads and that it is the state government's statutory obligation to provide roads which are pothole-free.

The court had then passed several directions to authorities like BMC, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Mumbai Port Trust and others who have control over roads in the city to ensure that potholes are repaired before the onsent of monsoon and submit compliance report by July 10.

The court also directed all civic bodies in the state, MMDRA, MSRDC and Mumbai Port Trust to provide a mechanism to enable citizens to file complaints about the poor condition of roads. "The facility of receiving complaints shall be made throughout the year.

Websites shall be designed in such a way that citizens can upload photos of the roads and also track their complaints," the court had said. "Unless there is an effective mechanism provided to the citizens to file complaints, they will not be in a position to enforce their constitutional as well as legal right to have well-maintained streets," the court had said.

When the matter came up for hearing today before a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Revati Mohite-Dhere, barring BMC all the other authorities had filed affidavits stating what steps they have taken. The court, however, observed that none of the authorities have fully complied with its order.

"We are giving you (authorities) two more weeks to fully comply with the orders. This is the last chance. If not complied, then we shall initiate contempt proceedings," the court said.

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