Mumbai: The Maharashtra Judges Association has approached the Bombay high court pointing out pathetic conditions of judicial quarters in Mumbai and the rest of the state and alleged that the Public Works Department (PWD) doesn’t carry out the necessary maintenance and repairs of the official accommodations.
The petition points out various difficulties faced by judicial officers in Mumbai and the rest of the state in respect of the official residential accommodation. Before filing the petition, the association conducted a survey of judicial officers.
Tejesh Dande, advocate for the association, informed the court that one of the judges in Pune had said in the survey that he had a leaking roof in the toilet which hasn’t been fixed by the PWD. “The judge has said that he has to carry an umbrella while using the toilet because of the leaking ceiling,” said Dande.
The petition, states that balconies of some of the flats at Gulmohar Building, judicial quarters at Mazgaon, collapsed during the last rainy season. The judges and their families were shifted to another placed in the middle of the pandemic. The building was 30 years old and in dilapidated state which shows the quality of construction undertaken by the state. Several judges had lodged a complaint about the dangerous condition of the balconies, however, the PWD paid no heed to this, alleges the petition.
The condition out Mumbai is even worse where some of the residential quarters do not even meet the basic requirements.
In some talukas, the judicial officials cited threat to their lives and property due to lack of security as there were occurrences of thefts.
Several judicial officials have said that they were not allotted timely residential quarters after their appointment or transfer and hence they had to rent a place in a guest house. Because of this, they couldn’t move their family and kids with them as it could hamper their academic year.
Also, the rent reimbursed were far below the market rate and there was delay in disbursement of the same.
The petition prays that the government should be directed to acquire and allot residential quarters to eligible judicial officers at the earliest.
It further prays that a mechanism/ single window system/ online portal should be started by the government to address their issues regarding maintenance, safety and security of the residential accommodation.
The petition came for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni last week. While keeping the petition for hearing after four weeks, the judges have asked Dande to make representation regarding the same to the Chief Justice on administrative side.
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