HC temporarily stops Mumbai's clean-up marshals from fining

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday temporarily restrained the clean-up marshals appointed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from recovering fine from people for littering the public places.

BMC has appointed these marshals to keep a watch on those who litter the public places or spit, etc. The marshals are not members of BMC staff.

The division bench of Justices S A Bobade and R D Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by ESS Infra Projects Private Limited and RMC Truck and Equipment Owners, who supply ready- mix cement. The petition challenges BMC's decision to appoint private persons as marshals and give them the authority to impose and recover fine.

"You (BMC) cannot delegate powers of imposing fine to private persons. Only those persons having sovereign power conferred by the legislature or the Parliament can impose fine. Even the court cannot delegate these powers," Justice Bobade said.

Before adjourning the hearing for a week, the judges restrained the clean-up marshals from imposing fines until further orders.

According to the petition, the marshals, appointed by Sulabh Security, fine the petitioners Rs 10,000 every time a cement mixer truck operated by them drops cement mix on road. If the driver refuses to pay, the marshals detain the vehicle. The petitioner's lawyer, advocate M M Vashi, argued that apart from lack of authority on the part of private agencies to force such a fine, there is no adjudicating authority in the case of dispute.


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