On Monday, a day before the Bombay High Court restrained clean-up marshals from slapping fines on citizens, Rane Ashish captured some glaring instances of their rampant misuse of authority
BMC's clean-up marshals chose an obscure spot in Goregaon, smack bang in the middle of the Western Express Highway stretch between Bandra and Dahisar. There isn't a single public toilet in the entire expanse, which is lined by the Aarey wilderness, so they are usually confident that a few motorists will make pit stops to answer nature's call. Here's what happens next.
Un-Notice-able: They put up a tattered signboard in an inconspicuous corner, which says that those caught urinating in public are liable to pay a fine of Rs 200. The trap set, they lay in ambush in the thickets nearby, hoping that motorists desperate to relieve themselves won't notice the signboard.
Moving in for the Kill: Soon enough, a motorist draws up, frantic to urinate. The fly in its web, the marshals close in, even as the hapless motorist isn't quite finished. The clean-up marshals cite the warning on the tattered signboard, and ask for cash.
Pay-off: Hushed negotiations follow, and soon the two parties part ways, one richer at the other's expense. A clean-up marshal makes quite a killing this way, 'earning' at least Rs 1,000 every day from several of his victims.