To check noise pollution during “religious festivals, processions and at places of religion,” the Bombay High Court Monday directed the state government to procure 1,843 decibel meters within the next three months which will be used to measure noise level violations by police stations in the state.
Taking serious note of “total inaction on the part of authorities to take action under noise pollution rules”, the HC said, “We make it clear that failure of state government to implement orders will have to be taken seriously.”
In terms of receiving complaints pertaining to noise violations, the court directed, “We direct the government to provide facilities of uploading complaints on dedicated websites of police and offices of district collectors. The state should also look into creating a mobile application for receiving complaints,” said the Bench.
The state government has been asked to provide such facilities for grievance redressal mechanism within two months.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice C V Bhadang were hearing a public interest litigation which raises the issue of illegal pandals being erected across the state during festivals and noise pollution rules being flouted.
Earlier, the HC had asked the state government to provide them with data on how many decibel level meters were required per police station in Maharashtra after the government informed the court that the police were finding it difficult to take action as police stations were sharing one equipment in various cities.
The court summoned the assistant commissioner of police of each city who were appointed as nodal officers to remain present in court on December 15, 2015 to explain their stand.
The state on Monday informed the HC that at present, it had 494 such meters.
The court noted that despite availability of these meters, they were hardly put to use.
The government had earlier stated that only 50 cases of breaches were registered in Diwali and Navratri with no cases reported from Pune, Nashik, Solapur, Aurangabad and Navi Mumbai.
“Authorities are duty bound to ensure that noise pollution during religious festivals, processions at places of religious are tested by meter and the criminal law is set into motion. Unless such deterrent measures are taken, the ambient air quality will not be maintained,” said the Bench. The government pleaders said that the state would ensure prompt action.
The HC also said that the government would have to ensure proper maintenance of the meters so that they are in working condition and action should be initiated immediately using existing decibel level meters.