At night in Mumbai you can see vehicles (parked) on the road, but not the road itself, the Bombay high court said on Thursday.
“If you have an aerial view at night you won’t see any road, any lamp posts, but only the parked vehicles,” said the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and justice MS Sonak, while hearing a PIL complaining about unauthorised use of parking spaces and non-compliance of parking related rules in Navi Mumbai.
In his PIL, local resident Hemant Mhatre complained about misuse of parking spaces, especially by most of the 915 hotels and restaurants across Navi Mumbai, non-compliance of rules requiring hotels and restaurants to provide for minimum number of parking spaces for their customers, and lack of action by NMMC officials.
The comments on Mumbai’s roads came after Mhatre’s counsel pointed out a hotel in Navi Mumbai had converted 38 car parking spaces into a banquet hall and vehicles meant to be parked in the lot were being parked on the road, and causing traffic jams, but civic officials had not taken any action.
NMMC counsel, advocate Sandip Marne, responded to the allegation of inaction saying the petitioner pointed out violations of parking related rules by 14 out of the total 915 hotels across Navi Mumbai and the civic body had already pulled down all but three of the erring hotels and restaurants. He said the corporation was not able to take action against the three hotels because of a stay granted by courts in those cases.
Marne said the municipal commissioner has initiated a demolition drive for pulling down all illegal structures within NMMC limits, and he has in fact invited ire of the local councilors and faced a no-confidence motion, which was stalled by the chief minister.
“If somebody [like the NMMC commissioner] is really bothered and taking prompt action, we will bow down to him,” said the judges, while commenting on the active role played by the civic chief. But they felt that all the hotels and restaurants in Navi Mumbai were required to be inspected by a special task force in order to ascertain that what appears on paper really reflects on the ground, and take action if required.
The court has, therefore, directed the NMMC commissioner to suggest names to be included in the special task force and submit the list to the court after Christmas vacation.