Jul 14 2017 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
HC warns state against easing noise rules in festival season
Our Orders Upheld By SC, Reminds Court
The Bombay high co urt on Thursday warned the state go vernment about the implications of breaching its directions against noise pollution, particularly the use of loudspeakers in silence zones, during the ensuing festival season.The court reminded the state that its challenge to the high court's August 2016 judgment (including on loudspeakers in silence zones) was summarily dismissed by the Supreme Court by a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India. “State's challenge to the judgment has failed. The matter is before this court.No adverse decision can be taken,“ said a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Vibha Kankanwadi.
The bench was reacting after advocate Rohaan Cama, representing NGO Awaaz Foundation, said there are 15 days in a year when relaxation for use of loudspeakers is allowed from 10pm to 12am under the Noise Pollution Rules, “The government from the very top is promising the public to take steps with regard to these 15 days in each separate district and empower the collector to decide,“ he said, referring to the chief minister's tweet (see box).
Cama also referred to press statements by the chief minister and political leaders to get the Centre to relax noise norms to allow loudspeakers in silence zones for the Ganesh festival.
In their order, the judges said: “We hope and trust that the state government is aware of the implications of confirmation of the directions of this court by the apex court.“
They added that the implementation is being monitored by the HC and “therefore anything done to defeat it should be brought to the co urt's notice“.
Cama urged that the “advocate general must use his good offices with the government to advise against doing anything to breach the court's directions“.
Updating the judges on compliance measures taken by the state, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said deputy commissioners of police have been instructed to give monthly reports in Mumbai and it will soon be replicated in major cities. He said the Road Transport Office has agreed to hold antihonking workshops for all taxi drivers, including Ola and Uber and rickshaws.
The court directed the state to consider the NGO's suggestion to conduct drives to penalize those indulging in illegal honking. Told that no toll-free number was available in every town and district, it asked government to take steps to set up a grievance redressal system before the commencement of major festivals.
They asked for NEERI's report when the NGO expressed reservations about the manner in which noise mapping is underway in 27 cities in the first phase. The state has also to issue directions to planning authorities to curb noise from construction.
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.