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Name politicians who set up illegal pandals:HC to civic bodies

Bombay High Court

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court today directed all the municipal corporations in Maharashtra to file affidavits by October 9 disclosing the names of politicians who are involved in erecting pandals without permission for Ganesh Chaturthi festival beginning tomorrow.

Hearing a batch of public interest litigations filed by social activist Mahesh Bedekar and others, a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka also asked the corporations to issue show cause notice to such illegal pandals.

The municipal bodies were also asked to collect the names and other particulars of the pandal organisers so that action could be taken against them.

During the course of the hearing, the judges were informed that prominent politicians were allegedly involved in erecting such pandals and the civic bodies were reluctant to take action against them as they were influencial and would thwart attempts to demolish the structures.

The judges, however, asked the civic bodies to disclose the names of such politicians who are involved in erecting pandals without permission.

Hearing the same matter yesterday, the judges had threatened to take contempt action against political parties, trusts and organisations which set up pandals during festivals without securing permission and those who flouted noise pollution rules.

S M Godwarkar, counsel for the petitioners, today submitted a report of NGO Awaz Foundation enumerating violations committed by organisers during the recently held ‘Dahi Handi’ festival in Mumbai.

The report said that no action had been initiated against the offenders for noise pollution violation.

Acting on this report, the bench asked the Mumbai Commissioner of Police to look into these alleged violations and file an affidavit about the action taken or proposed to be taken against the offenders.

The bench also asked the police commissioner to hold an inquiry into the functioning of police officers who were given the responsibility of detecting noise pollution violations during the festivals.

If it is found that they have not taken action against the offenders of noise pollution, then action should be taken against these officers, the judges said.

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