Bombay HC vexed at illegal pandals

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Pulls up state govt, BMC; calls it a clear breach of court orders.

HC had asked state to ensure that not even one illegal pandal be erected in city.

Mumbai: Expressing its displeasure against illegal pandals, the Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the state and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to inform the court about the steps taken against all unauthorised pandals erected across the state for the Ganesh festival. The directions came after the court was informed by the state that recent inspections by various municipal corporations across Maharashtra had revealed that several pandals had been constructed in violation of municipal rules and noise pollution norms.

A division bench comprising of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing a bunch of petitions seeking strict implementation of noise pollution rules in the state and also action against illegal pandals erected during the festivals. “This is a clear breach of our orders. Tell us how these illegal pandals came to be erected despite previous orders of this court against the same,” the bench said.

The state government informed the court that this year, 349 illegal pandals were erected in Mumbai, of these 132 pandals are in the city and 217 pandals are in the suburbs.

The court asked the BMC why it was not taking any action against illegal pandals. The bench directed the state to check whether any of these violations had been knowingly ignored by the BMC, or, if the civic body had regularised any violations.

Only last month, the Bombay HC had asked the state and all the municipal authorities to ensure that not even a single illegal pandal be erected at least in major cities like Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune. If authorities failed to do so, then the court would take contempt action against government officers. The court also expressed its displeasure at the state government’s apathy towards orders on noise pollution.

The state informed the court that it has identified 110 silence zones in Mumbai and the process is still going on.

Ganesh applications

  • BMC received 3,523 applications from city Ganesh Mandals
  • Out of these, 773 applications were cancelled due to duplication.
  • Of the 2,750 applications processed, permission was granted to 2,401 mandals
  • Applications of 349 mandals were rejected by the BMC.
  • State told court there are 132 illegal pandals in city and 217 in suburbs.
  • HC had passed order against illegal pandals.