HC TO STATE: NO CHOICE, IMPLEMENT NOISE RULES FOR GANPATI FESTIVAL
A division bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice VV Kankanwadi, while hearing a bunch of public interest litigations on the issue, was informed about the state government’s decision to approach the Centre, seeking relaxation in loudspeaker rules for the forthcoming festivals.
Pouring cold water on the administration’s plans, the High Court observed that the state government had no choice but to follow its directions to not allow loudspeakers in silence zones on any day of the year, as it has failed in its challenge before the Supreme Court.
“Let us remind all the politicians and the government that the Supreme Court has already dismissed the petition that challenged this court’s orders. The SC has upheld this court’s judgment. Now the Apex Court is monitoring this, so you (government) have no other option but to implement this court’s orders or else you are aware about the implications,” the bench observed after hearing the submissions.
The HC order was issued last year.
The court was told that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had met representatives of certain Ganpati mandals and reportedly assured them of relaxations in use of loudspeakers. The mandals are said to have sought the relaxation as 80 per cent of them fall in silence zones.
The court was further informed that despite its orders, the state government has not created any toll-free and WhatsApp numbers for registration of noise pollution-related complaints.
The bench directed the government to ensure that all preparations for effective implementation of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000, are in place before the festive season. It further directed the state to create the toll-free and WhatsApp numbers.
The petitioners also informed the HC that state has failed to check vehicular noise pollution. On a query from the court, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted that the Regional Transport Officers as well as Traffic Police would conduct workshops to sensitise the drivers of taxis, auto-rickshaws as well as Ola and Uber cabs against unnecessary honking.