The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed municipal commissioners in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to take immediate action against Ganpati pandals put up without prior permission, but only where idols of Ganesha have not yet been installed.
The division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice VL Achliya said wherever idols are already installed, the municipal authorities should first issue show-cause notices to the mandals concerned and then take act in accordance with law.
The HC directives came after government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani pointed out that a team of revenue officers visited around 350 Ganpati mandals in Thane district and found that 143 of them had put up temporary pandals without obtaining permission. Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented the BMC, claimed the civic body could locate only one pandal that had been put up without prior permission, while a counsel for the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) conceded that there were 29 illegal pandals under their jurisdiction.
Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by filed by Thane-based activist Dr Mahesh Bedekar, the high court had on June 24 imposed stricter norms for permitting temporary pandals on public roads and footpaths.