The Bombay high court issued contempt notices to two assistant commissioners of police (ACP) on Wednesday for failing to take action against noise pollution during Navratri, despite receiving complaints.
Noting that Mumbai’s noise pollution rules (NPR) had been completely violated, especially during the recently-concluded festive season, the bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed directed the Maharashtra chief secretary to file a personal affidavit detailing what steps the state proposed to ensure strict compliance with the NPR.
The court was hearing public interest litigations — one filed by Thane-based activist Dr Mahesh Bedekar and another by Aawaz Foundation — complaining about the lack of compliance with the NPR. Dr Bedekar complained that the rules were not adhered to while organising festivals such Ganeshotsav, Navratri and Dahi Handi in Thane. He cited a lack of action on part of the authorities, even if complaints were made about the violations.
Sumeira Abdulali of Aawaz Foundation filed an affidavit, stating that it had forwarded 61 complaints of violation of the NPR, but no action was taken by the police.
After perusing a report submitted by government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, the bench noticed that action was taken only in 11 of the 61 cases. However, the police failed to record decibel levels, stop the noise, seize the loudspeakers or conducting a preliminary investigation at any of the spots. The bench felt that against this backdrop, those accused in the 11 cases would be acquitted.
The court has granted the ACPs — one from Ulhasnagar and another from Borivli — time till December 17 to file their respective affidavits.
On Wednesday, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board filed an affidavit in the high court stating that it proposed to conduct noise mapping in 10 major cities — all class A municipal corporations in Maharashtra. These include Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nasik, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Kolhapur and Ulhasnagar.