Three days after the Mumbai police procession at Mahim Fair violated both Bombay high court (HC) orders and noise rules, a HC bench instructed anti-noise petitioners to file a contempt petition against the state government on the issue by next Friday.
During the last hearing on December 3, the HC had warned the state that contempt notices will be issued to officers responsible to monitor noise pollution violations after they failed to take action in a number of cases.
HT had reported on December 14 that at this year’s Mahim Fair, a 10-day annual festival, the sandal (procession) carried out by the police, near Mahim police station, a Silence Zone, was at 117.3 decibels (dB), as loud as a machine drilling a rock. The reading was the second noisiest since 2013.
During Eid-e-Milad this year, the highest noise level was observed opposite JJ Hospital, near Mumbai Central, a Silence Zone, at 111.5 dB, found NGO Awaaz Foundation.
On Friday, as anti-noise activists from Awaaz Foundation tendered an affidavit in the HC regarding violations by processions on Eid-e-Milad and Day 1 of Mahim Fair, a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Anuja Prabhudessai directed the former to file a fresh contempt petition against the state for their inaction to deal with noise pollution complaints. The next date of hearing is December 23.
An elaborate order by the same court from earlier this year, not only banned the use of loudspeakers at Silence Zones but even the use of drums, blowing horns, trumpets and playing of any music using sound amplifiers, which was violated during Mahim Fair and Eid-e-Milad this year.
The state government also prayed to the court on Friday to give them more time to form a special council and implement previous HC orders to tackle noise pollution cases but the court rejected the plea.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by several anti-noise activists, including Awaaz Foundation’s petition to tackle noise during various religious festivals, Mahim Fair and integration of noise mapping in the Development Plan for Mumbai.