The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the police to take appropriate action against the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for violating noise pollution regulations during its Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park, which is a silence zone.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Wacom Trust, which, in its pending public interest litigation, raised concern about the permission granted to the MNS to use loudspeakers during the rally.
A maximum noise level of 50 decibel (db) is permissible in a silence zone, but the judges noted that according to the police records the noise level was 114.6 dB at 5.49pm, 98.1dB at 6.29pm and 101.8 dB at 7.38pm during the rally.
“The panchanama [noise meter reading recorded during the rally] conducted by the police shows gross breach of Noise Pollution Rules, 2000,” said the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Prakash Naik.
Government pleader Poornima Kantharia told the bench a show-cause notice has been issued to the party and its functionaries, in accordance with section 19 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Counsel for the party, senior advocate VA Thorat, urged the court to allow the party to reply to the notice issued by the Shivaji Park police station, before any further action is ordered against it.
Pointing out that the noise level was substantially high (65 db) even on April 7, a day prior to the rally, Thorat said the noise level had increased only marginally during the rally. “We do not have control over the ambient noise level already existing around Shivaji Park,” said the senior advocate , indirectly suggesting the political party cannot be blamed for the ordinarily higher noise level in the area.
The court also issued a contempt notice to party leader Nitin Sardesai for breach of its April 6 order, which stated the Raj Thackeray-led party will abide by the conditions mentioned by the BMC and the Shivaji Park police while granting permission to the party to use the ground and loud speakers.