Bombay high court pulls up Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan civic chiefs over illegal Ganpati pandals

The judges were irked to note that civic officials had regularised several illegal pandals despite there being specific directions to remove them. 

mumbai Updated: Nov 03, 2017 01:01 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,Illegal Ganpati pandals
The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on November 30.(Pic for Representation)

The Bombay high court on Thursday issued contempt notices to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta and also commissioners of Navi Mumbai and Kalyan-Dombivli civic bodies for failing to act against illegal Ganpati pandals in Mumbai.

What annoyed the judges more than the inaction was the fact that instead of demolishing the illegal pandals, civic officials regularised them without bothering to check if they obstructed free flow of traffic on roads and movement of pedestrians along footpaths or not.

“Time has come to send somebody behind bars and the message will not reach the concerned unless action is taken against some municipal commissioner,” said the bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon while issuing notices asking the three civic chiefs to explain why action for contempt of courts should not be taken against them.

The judges were irked to note that civic officials had regularised several illegal pandals despite there being specific directions to remove them.

Affidavits filed by municipal corporations revealed that in Navi Mumbai 62 such illegal pandals were regularised. The number of such pandals in Mumbai and Kalyan was 42 and 36.

The bench felt that civic officials had no business regularising the illegal pandals, which were built without any permits. “These pandals should have been immediately removed,” said the bench. “You have completely frustrated the judgment,” it said referring to its own detailed order directing revenue officials to personally inspect temporary Ganpati and Navratri pandals and intimate civic bodies about pandals put up without permission. The civic bodies, in turn, have been directed to remove such pandals.

The court was also upset with the fact that all sorts of excuses were being given to avoid implementation of the order, which also deals with compliance over noise pollution rules during public celebration of religious festivals. “All sorts of tactics are being put to use to see that the judgment is not complied with,” said the bench while expressing anguish over non-compliance.

It has now posted the matter for further hearing on November 30.

First Published: Nov 03, 2017 01:01 IST