Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the BMC to consider framing policy which would act as a stringent deterrent against organisers who damage footpaths and roads for erecting pandals during festivals and ceremonies. The court further asked to incorporate a clause in the policy for refusing permission to those who violate conditions imposed by the civic body while granting permission. The court held the stern view while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an organisation, Prameya Foundation, in the matter.
Petitioner’s Advocate Sumedha Rao argued that since 2020, the BMC has undertaken the work of concretisation of roads and if these organisers would dig holes to put up the pandals, it would severely damage the roads. Representing the BMC, Advocate Poornima Kantharia informed the court that if any organiser violates the terms and conditions then the deposit amount is forfeited. She also said that a fine of Rs2,000 per pothole is imposed on the organiser.
However, a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor remarked that the civic body needs to impose more deterrent punishment than merely forfeiting the deposit amount. “It is common knowledge that those who seek permission to erect pandals during festivals are supposed to leave the footpaths and roads in the same condition and not cause any damage which unnecessarily causes difficulties to pedestrians and other users of road,” the court said.
Asking the BMC to consider framing a deterrent policy, the CJ said, “Whosoever violates (conditions) this year, will not be considered for permission next year. This has to be done by you (BMC), we can’t do this. You can put an embargo on those who violate the law.” He further directed, “Take a policy decision to be implemented next year. Treat this petition as a representation. We need to have a more severe deterrence.
The HC has asked the BMC to frame the policy within six week of receiving the petition as representation.
Organisers ought to leave footpaths and roads in same condition
They should not damage them, leading to unnecessary difficulties for pedestrians
Need to have a more severe deterrence
Last year violators should not be given permission this year
BMC can put an embargo on violators
If any organiser violates rules, deposit amount is forfeited
A fine of Rs2,000 per pothole is also slapped on errants