The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni that a committee comprising of experts, who would give recommendations to reduce pollution levels due to crematoriums, would be constituted by Friday. This comes after the judges pulled up the state for failing to appoint the Committee.
The bench was dealing with a PIL filed by a Pune resident through advocate Asim Sarode.
When the matter was called out for hearing on Thursday, Justice Kulkarni sought to know from acting government pleader Priyabhushan Kakade as to if the committee is ready.
Advocate Sharmila Deshmukh for the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) informed the judges that a member from her client's end has been nominated. "However, there is no communication from the state if it has constituted the committee," she submitted.
At this Kakade sought two days time to get instructions on the issue. But Justice Kulkarni said, "Mr Kakade this is a very important issue as crematoriums are now in the heart of the city. Thus, pollution cannot be allowed and this committee must be formed at the earliest."
Accordingly, CJ Datta said he won't adjourn the matter and granted an hour's time for Kakade to take instructions.
Kakade came back with instructions that at least 15 days would be needed to constitute the committee and make it functional.
"Why so many days?" the chief justice questioned, to which Kakade replied, "We need to take a sanction from the Urban Development Department (UDD)."
"But we have passed orders. Then why do you need approval from UDD?" an irked CJ Datta asked while summoning advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to appear in the matter.
"This is such an important committee. It will oversee the functioning of all the crematoriums especially in Bombay and Pune cities that are facing huge pollution since most crematoriums there are situated in the heart of those cities. You (state) need to be serious on this issue," CJ Datta observed.
Being summoned, AG Kumbhakoni said he would speak to the secretary of UDD and get back to the court during the second session after lunch break.
Post the lunch break, AG Kumbhakoni said the committee would be formed by Friday, without fail. "I have spoken to the secretary and instructed him to constitute the committee at the earliest. By tomorrow (Friday) the committee would be in place," he assured.