Mumbai: 'Angry' BMC sends legal notice to whistleblower

He runs a tea shop for which a court has ordered the corporation to provide him with a health licence, but officials seem to have ignored this and sent him the notice for ‘not having’ the licence

Exposing illegality and corruption in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got a whistleblower, Jeetendra Ghadge, a legal notice and summons for not having a health licence for his tea shop, despite a court order to the corporation to provide the licence.

The RTI activist, Jeetendra Ghadge says this is BMC’s harassment
The RTI activist, Jeetendra Ghadge says this is BMC’s harassment

The civic body seems to have ignored the order and handed him the legal notice with the intention of harassment, he says.

RTI activist Ghadge has exposed various corruption and irregularity cases in BMC like S K Patil Garden, where D ward spent crores on renovation, the Parekh Market alteration and political interference in posting of officers in Building Proposal department. Angered by Ghadge’s activism, the civic body seems to have tried to implicate him in a health licence issue.

Ghadge, who runs a tea shop in Parekh Market Compound at Opera House, got a notice on March 10, from D ward’s Health Department, saying he doesn’t have a health licence. After this BMC approached the Dadar Court and on March 12, it issued summons.

“This is the second attempt by the civic body to shut my shop. The first attempt was made in 2009 but when I submitted the court order, they did not take any further action but asked the legal department to trace the documents related to that order,” said Ghadge.

He added, “In 1990, my father went to court against BMC to get a health licence for our tea shop. After this the small causes court ordered the civic body to give the health licence. However, despite the order, they have not issued it.”

Tired of the harassment Ghadge said, “It has become the modus operandi of government officials to harass an activist and drive him to suicide. Some very influential people are upset with my activism hence they seek every opportunity to harass me, doesn’t matter if they need to defy court orders.

People are aware that activists are killed, but they are not aware of this harassment. Many activists are facing the wrath of powerful people and the government is sitting on the Whistle-blower Act which is supposed to protect us.”

The other side
When asked how they issued a notice and summons to Ghadge despite the court’s order, an officer of D ward’s health department said, “I was not aware of a previous court’s order so we approached the court for summons. Now, we can’t do anything.”

The ward’s law officer, Anil Mhatre, claims the same. “The health department has not forwarded court’s order to us regarding the licence of the tea shop. So we started prosecution under section 394 of MMC act (conducting trade without licence).”

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