The Bombay high court on Tuesday criticised the Maharashtra government for not being able to get 1,843 decibel metres that would have helped record noise levels and catch offenders during the current festive season, despite a court-set deadline.
“This is being done deliberately,” a division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Amjad Syed said. “You wanted to ensure this festive season passes without decibel metres.”
The court’s comments came after government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani said in an affidavit that the state had received 600 decibel metres, but the rest will be delivered by November 9. In May this year, the court had said the state was making a mockery of the Noise Pollution Rules and issued a contempt notice to KP Bakshi, the additional chief secretary, home, for not complying with an earlier court order to procure the metres. The court had later exempted Bakshi from personal appearance when he said the decibel metres will be procured by October 15.
With the delay, the court has now cancelled the exemption granted to the senior bureaucrat and has asked him to appear in court on October 17. It also warned that action for contempt of court will be taken against him if the state fails to procure the remaining decibel metres by October 15.
The order to get 1,843 decibel metres was passed by the court on January 4, 2016 and the state was given three moths to ensure they had the metres. However, even tenders were not issued for this until May 3, 2016.
The order came on a public interest litigation filed by a Thane-based activist, Dr. Mahesh Bedekar, who had complained about how noise rules and regulations were not followed during festivals such as Ganeshotsav, Navratri and Dahi Handi in Thane, and how the authorities were not taking action even when complaints were filed.