Your complaints against noise pollution will now be tackled faster. The Maharashtra government has allowed senior inspectors of police stations to take action against offenders under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
Till now, the power was with senior police officers such as the assistant commissioners and the police commissioners.
However, on Monday, the government filed an affidavit in the Bombay high court saying that the home department had, on July 28, appointed in charge of police stations in the state as competent officers, in addition to the senior police officers, to take action against any violation of noise norms.
The affidavit was filed by BK Upadhyay, principal secretary, home department, in reply to a PIL filed by Dr Mahesh Bedekar complaining about lack of compliance of rules and regulations during festivals such as Ganeshotsav, Navratri and Dahi Handi in the neighbouring Thane. He also alleged lack of action on part of the authorities when complaints are made.
The high court observed that silence is considered to be a human right, as noise is injurious to health, and the right of silence is required to be preserved at any cost. “Citizens can’t be forced to listen,” the judges said, adding, “By organising such festivals [on public roads and footpaths], the ogranisers can’t infringe the fundamental rights of citizens to live with peace and comfort.”
The court also held that the authorities were bound to stop the noise not just from loudspeakers and public address systems, but also from other musical instruments, if it exceeded the ambient noise level laid down under the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000.
Earlier, the court had directed the state government to respond to petitioner’s counsel senior advocate SM Gorwadkar’s complaint about the lack of machinery for effective implementation of the rules.
On Monday, the court refused to accept a clause in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s policy that the civic body will make alternative arrangement for traffic and pedestrians if any pandal put up for religious festivals caused a hindrance.
The judges said the clause was contrary to the ruling of the court. Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented the BMC, assured the court that permissions will be granted only in accordance with orders of the court.