The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rapped Maharashtra government for not following its previous orders regarding implementing noise pollution rules and removing illegal 'pandals' (temporary structures) in public places and on roads and footpaths during festivals.
Flaying the government for its lackadaisical attitude, a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Revati Mohite-Dere said they were not against festive celebrations but were against it becoming a nuisance for citizens. "We are not against festival celebration, but it should not become nuisance. If it (festivals) is held without hurting others, only then will they have meaning," remarked the judges.
Seeking details of music equipment used by DJs during such celebrations which cause noise pollution, a HC bench, headed by Justice Oka, indicated that it will pass an order in this regard next week. 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.
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 high court had then asked the government to frame a policy and set up a redressal mechanism by which common citizen can lodge complaints on which prompt action should be taken by authorities concerned before the festivals get over.
However, the court was informed today that no such policy had been framed by the government. Further, the state government had failed to take any action against organisers for violations of noise pollution rules and erecting illegal pandals in public places like outside schools, hospitals, bus stops etc.
S M Gorwadkar, counsel for petitioner, informed the court that the government and various municipal corporations in the state have failed to submit compliance report.
The HC had, in March this year, directed authorities concerned to withdraw licenses of those Ganpati mandals which violate the rules. However, the same has not been done. Irked by the state's attitude, Justice Oka said "the state neglects our (HC's) orders. Despite orders, the government has till date not drafted rules to prevent noise pollution."
The PIL was posted for further hearing on June 24.