Even as a magistrate acquitted a housing society's 61-year-old chairperson booked for not segregating wet and dry waste, the court said it is the duty of every citizen to take utmost care to keep the environment clean and segregation of waste is one of the steps towards it.
The housing society, Hira Manek CHS, Vile Parle, and its chairperson Ashesh Gandhi were booked under Sec 368 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act in 2018 on the complaint of the civic body. A junior overseer of the ward had found that garbage in the bins were not segregated. He had issued a notice to do the needful within a prescribed period, but in the second inspection too, he found the conditions continued and a complaint was filed.
Act does not spell out punishment
The court stated in its judgment that the kinds of garbage that are mentioned in section 368 of the MMC Act can be termed as the garbage and nothing else. “The sub-divisions in the garbage are nowhere mentioned in the section,” the court said. It added that the Act does not spell out that, if the garbage is not segregated, a sentence can be imposed, it added.
The court noted that the Bio-degradable Rules 2016 prescribes that if any establishment which generates more than 100 kgs of waste per day, it is required to segregate its waste at source and process, treat and dispose of biodegradable waste. The court pointed out that the civic body did not show that the housing society had produced over 100 kgs of waste that day.
Constitution guarantees healthy life to citizens
Even though it acquitted the chairperson, it observed that the Constitution of India guarantees healthy life to citizens. It cannot be the only obligation of the state to take care of the society or its people, but it is the duty of every citizen to see that he and other people can live healthy lives and for that purpose, Metropolitan Magistrate SN Sarde said.