State authorities will ensure there is no violation of noise pollution norms during Christmas and on New Year’s Eve, the Maharashtra government assured the Bombay high court on Friday.
The government counsel informed the high court that it has procured 1,843 decibel meters and distributed them across all police stations to measure noise levels on both days.
The state also urged the Bombay high court to not award any sentence yet to former additional chief secretary (Home) KP Bakshi, whom the court had held guilty on contempt charges last week.
The court was hearing a bunch of PILs seeking directions to the government to rein in violations of noise-pollution norms during religious festivals and processions. In May this year, the court had issued a contempt notice against Bakshi for “wilful and deliberate” breach of previous court orders relating to procurement of decibel meters.
Then, on December 16 this year, a bench of justice AS Oka and justices Anuja Prabhudessai held Bakshi guilty of contempt of court, saying that despite repeated assurances by way of affidavits, the government had failed to procure decibel meters to measure noise decibel levels during festivals, processions and other events to ensure compliance of noise pollution rules and regulations. The bench had summoned Bakshi and had said at the time that it would award him a jail term on the next date of hearing.
On Friday, senior counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state government, told the bench that now that the decibel meters had been procured and distributed, the court must wait at least until the state files its compliance report.
“We have also imparted necessary training on using the decibel metres to the police officers concerned. The authorities will ensure there is no violation of noise pollution norms on December 25 and December 31,” Kumbhakoni said.
“The government will file a compliance report on the next date of hearing. If the court is not satisfied with this report, then it can go ahead with awarding the sentence. We will not ask the court to show leniency then,” he said.
The high court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on January 24 next year.