The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will take three months to appoint a new agency to carry out the work of clean-up marshals.
A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Amjad Sayed asked the corporation to decide quickly so that “the cleanliness of the city is not made a casualty”.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the women’s cell of an NGO, All India Human Rights Association, challenging the corporation’s decision to abruptly discontinue the ‘Clean Up’ drive on December 31, 2010.
Sunil Dighe, advocate for the petitioner, argued that clean-up marshals were collecting fines from people littering or spitting in the streets.
The BMC’s advocate said they had to discontinue the services of clean-up marshals as they had received several complaints of corruption against them. Some of them were even caught by the BMC.
Dighe said the BMC could not generalise because of some corrupt marshals. They could penalise those who were indulging in corruption. “Otherwise, here, too, there will be garbage mafias like in the West.”
Justice Majmudar said: “Here, too, there so many types of mafias.”
On a query from the court as to what the interim arrangement to fine people littering or spitting on streets was, BMC’s advocate said they had ‘Nuisance Detectors’ for the job.
Apart from Nuisance Detectors, even staff from the solid waste management department was helping out.
When Dighe pointed out that there were just 36 Nuisance Detectors in the city against 700 clean-up marshals, the judges asked the corporation to increase their strength if required.
The high court has scheduled the next hearing for April 11.