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'You are not lords!' HC reprimands Mumbai police & civic chief

Rapping the city police commissioner and civic chief for failing to comply with last year's order in connection with vehicle parking at Shivaji Park, the Bombay High Court today said it was contemplating issuing contempt notice against the two.

A division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Amjad Sayyed was hearing an application filed by the city police seeking permission to allow vehicles to park along Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai during the ensuing Ganesh Chaturthi festival. 

"We had asked you (municipal commissioner and police commissioner) to hold a meeting with members of NGO Wecom Trust in October last year. Why has the meeting not been held?" the bench questioned.

Shivaji Park
Shivaji Park.

The application seeking permission was filed as another bench of the high court had declared Shivaji Park as silence zone and directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to not grant permission to any festival celebrations in the area. The area was declared silence zone during hearing of a public interest litigation filed by an NGO 'Wecom Trust'.

In October last year, when a similar application was filed by the police, the High Court had directed the police commissioner and municipal commissioner to hold a meeting with members of the NGO to chalk out options to ensure that nuisance is not caused to residents. However, the court was today informed that the meeting was not convened.

"Why are you not meeting them ? They are citizens. And you are servants of the system. Why are you treating them like untouchables ?" Justice Chandrachud said. Warning strict action against both the commissioners, the court said, "You both are not some lords. Attitude has to change immediately. We are not living in some colonial era."

"We are displeased with the fact that orders are not complied with. We intend to issue show cause notice to both the commissioners explaining why they should not be held for contempt. However, we will give them a last chance," the court said directing the additional municipal commissioner and additional commissioner of police to hold a meeting with the NGO tomorrow.

Posting the matter for hearing on Monday, the court said, "If we find that the meeting was not held properly then we will not give permission to police to allow parking of vehicles." 

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