Deny future permissions to Ganesh mandals who put up unauthorised pandals this year: HC
The HC also criticised the revenue and civic authorities for complete failure to regulate public religious festivities, and the police for not containing noise pollution during the recently-concluded Ganesh festivalUpdated: Oct 12, 2015 20:23 IST
The Bombay high court on Monday directed all civic authorities not to grant permissions next year to those Ganesh mandals which put up pandals illegally this year. The HC also criticised the revenue and civic authorities for complete failure to regulate public religious festivities, and the police for not containing noise pollution during the recently-concluded Ganesh festival.
The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice VL Achliya said, “The authorities will be fully justified if they reject applications of those mandals which had put up pandals without requisite permissions or breached the conditions of permissions granted earlier.”
The bench also directed the police to maintain a vigil during the upcoming Navratri and Diwali festivals, and to take prompt action if any violation of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, was noticed.
The bench said that the earlier orders passed by the court were followed only on paper during the Ganesh festival, and though several temporary pandals were found to be put up illegally or in breach of conditions imposed by civic authorities, no action was taken against them.
The judges were also irked to note the inaction on curbing noise pollution. “There is complete failure on part of the state authorities to take action against noise pollution,” they said, adding, “There is not a single case of noise pollution where criminal law is set in motion.”
The court also clarified that the orders passed by it earlier, placing restrictions on public celebration of religious festivals, were not limited to the Ganesh festival; the restrictions were applicable to all major public celebrations of religious festivals, the court said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Thane-based activist Dr Mahesh Bedekar, complaining about the lack of compliance with rules and regulations in organising festivals like Ganeshotsav, Navratri and Dahi Handi in Thane, and a lack of action on the part of the authorities even when the violations were brought to their notice.
Acting on the PIL, on September 16, the court had directed the commissioner of police, Mumbai, to file an affidavit disclosing what action he had taken to ensure that noise pollution norms were followed during the public celebration of the Ganesh festival.
On Monday, the court also directed the state government to measure noise levels at all places across Maharashtra wherever Navratri was being celebrated publicly and also during Diwali, and submit the compiled data to the court by November 20.
The court has now posted the PIL for further hearing on December 3.