The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued contempt notices to the assistant commissioners of police of Ulhasnagar and Borivli for not complying with court orders relating to maintaining prescribed decibel levels and adhering to noise pollution rules.
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The HC has now asked the chief secretary to look into the matter personally and file an affidavit in the matter. According to government rules, the ACPs are officers in-charge for ensuring compliance with noise pollution rules and taking action in cases of violations.
“The chief secretary shall personally look into the orders passed by the court. If necessary, the chief secretary should hold meetings of officials and file affidavit setting out steps taken for compliance of orders,” said Justice A S Oka, adding, there had hardly been any compliance of noise pollution rule with violations being recorded in silence zones also.
NGO Awaaz Foundation had filed an affidavit earlier this month saying the government had failed to comply with the court orders and not taken action on complaints pertaining to noise level violations during festivals.
“We find there is no action of stopping use of loudspeakers. Of the 61 cases which were brought to the notice of the police, action has been taken only in 11 cases. Moreover, the police have recorded a panchanama and taken decibel readings only in one case,” said the HC. It has asked the chief secretary to take into consideration the issue of panchanamas not being filed, and added that such action without following proper procedure is worthless.
Referring to charts showing where such violations had taken place, the court said most of the decibel level readings taken during festivals of Dahi Handi and Ganesh Utsav showed that the violations took place in prominent areas of Mumbai.
“The ACPs of Borivli and Ulhasnagar are nominated officers who have committed breach of orders of the court. Noise readings have been recorded on August 25, September 9 and September 15. Out of 61 cases, action has been taken only in 11 instances. The spots mentioned are very prominent places in city like Sena Bhawan at Dadar, opposite Bandra police station, Hill Road, Linking Road, Juhu Tara Road, Bandra lake Lalbaug,” it said.
“Ask your officers to be honest. Two festivals have gone by, was there any implementation of the order?” said Justice Oka.
In terms of procurement of decibel meters, the HC had earlier warned the state government that even if one of the 1,843 decibel meters was not procured by the government by November-end, as per state’s own commitment, it will amount to a case of “aggravated contempt” under the contempt notice issued against state government’s Additional CS (Home) K P Bakshi.