Law and order excuse to cover inaction: Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Expressing displeasure over the constant inaction of the police against violators of noise pollution norms, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Mumbai Police Commissioner to explain the conduct of his staff. The court sought to know from the top cop, as to why Mumbai Police generally uses ‘law and order situation’ as an excuse to cover up their inaction.

This comes after a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Ajay Gadkari perused two affidavits filed by Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Manjunath Shinge. The affidavits were filed pursuant to orders of the bench over major violations of noise decibels at Girgaum Chowpatty and Railway Colony, Khar, during Ganpati immersion and Eid-e-Milad celebrations, respectively.

In his affidavit, Shinge stated that the local police had received a total of 22 complaints and the police had initiated action in majority of the cases. However, some mandals that are associated with certain political parties continued to use loudspeakers and violate noise norms even beyond midnight, the affidavit stated.

As regards Eid celebrations in Khar, Shinge said police officers refrained from taking any strict action such as confiscating the loudspeakers, anticipating ‘law and order problems.’ Irked over the submissions, Justice Oka said, “How can the police claim to be helpless in the name of law and order? It seems apparent that the IPS officer has simply filed affidavits without giving any reasons for inaction and without even bothering to read this court’s judgment.”

The bench sought to know why the violators were not booked by the police despite receiving complaints. “There is no explanation for inaction. We think the citizens would have suffered less from noise pollution and more from police inaction. There are so many cases where the police do not act in the name of law and order situation,” Justice Oka said. “Thus, we want an explanation from the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai.

He should also explain why police gives the excuse of law and order situation in almost every case,” Justice Oka added. The judges further said the ‘excuse’ given by the police is contrary to their role, which is ‘to ensure a law and order situation is not created.’ “Let the commissioner file his personal affidavit, dealing with the issue and also spell what action he will take against the police officers who did not act in these cases of noise pollution, even in the past,” Justice Oka said. The bench posted the matter for March 2.

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