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HC notice to cops over security to BMC staff during demolition

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has issued notice to the city police commissioner and senior police inspectors of those police stations that refused to provide protection to civic officials while demolishing illegal hutments from pipelines supplying drinking water.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anil Menon were informed by senior counsel S U Kamdar, appearing for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that despite several written requests made to the police seeking protection during the demolition drives, it is not provided.

The high court was hearing an application filed by the civic body in a pending Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of 2006 seeking action against illegal encroachments near water pipelines in the city.

In 2009, the high court had ordered for removal of over 15,000 hutments, which are on the pipelines or adjacent to it.

Yesterday, Kamdar informed the high court that Phase I of the demolition drive is complete and a compound wall has been constructed. He said in Phase II the corporation staff had tried to demolish the hutments, but were faced with agitation and stone pelting.

“We wrote several letters to the police seeking their protection, but to no avail,” Kamdar said.

The high court then directed for Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria to be added as a respondent in the PIL and also the police officers in-charge of the police stations, which failed to provide police protection to the civic staff.

“We direct the commissioner of police and the police officers to ensure that protection is given to civic staff as and when required,” the court said.

It has posted the matter for further hearing on September 20.

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