ADDRESSING staff crunch in the legal department, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has issued directions to the legal department to recruit fresh law graduates to handle cases after notices are served for detection of mosquito breeding spots in buildings.
During the monthly meeting with all heads of departments held on Saturday, Mehta stated that young graduates will gain experience from the work and the legal department will be able to focus on more pressing issues. “He has asked us to hire fresh law graduates to handle cases of mosquito breeding spots. The cases are procedural yet time consuming. The law graduates can learn the process and we will pay them a percentage of the fine amount which is collected,” said a senior official from the legal department.
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According to section 381 B of Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888, the BMC can serve notices to residents for not taking measures to prevent mosquito breeding. As per norms of the act, the BMC will serve a notice and file a case in the Metropolitan Magistrate court and a fine between Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 can be imposed on offenders not preventing mosquito breeding in private premises.
The legal department officials added that they are suffering from a severe shortage of staff with only 11 advocates dealing with matters in all 24 wards in the city. “Each case of section 381 B takes a minimum of six months to be disposed. We don’t have enough advocates or even staff members for advocates in the ward offices,” said the official.
The executive health officer, Padmaja Keskar stated that the BMC issues around 200 notices for detection of mosquito breeding spots every month which turn into legal cases. “We have issued more than 13,000 notices till August and some people pay on their own. However, of them, only 927 cases have been filed till date,” she said.
The commissioner also directed the ward officials to keep a close watch on trenches dug on city roads. Ward officials will have to ensure proper closure of the trenches.