Mumbai, Jul 4 : Not satisfied with Maharashtra government’s reply regarding procurement of noise meters to check decibel levels during festivals, the Bombay High Court today asked the state to file an affidavit by July 27 giving a time-bound schedule to buy the equipment. “We want to see the orders regarding purchase of noise meters and find out how much time has been given to contractors to supply noise meters to the government,” said a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka. The high court was hearing a PIL filed by Dr Mahesh Bedekar from neighbouring Thane district, raising concern over nuisance created by organisers of religious festivals with regard to noise pollution and erection of ‘mandaps’ and ‘pandals’ (makeshift structures) on streets and footpaths. Also Read: High Court asks Central Railway, MCGM to seek Defence Ministry’s advice for FOB
Government Pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today said that that the state had placed an order to procure 1,843 noise meters and 50 per cent of this equipment was to be purchased by July-end and the rest in August 2016. The bench, however, said that the proposed purchase of noise meters is not reflected in the documents submitted to the court by the state government on controlling noise pollution during festivals. The high court also said that it would like to see the order of procurement of noise meters. In the past, the high court had issued contempt notice against the home department of the state government for not procuring noise meters.
The bench today asked the government to promptly implement its proposal to buy noise meters in view of important festivals such as ‘Dahi Handi’, ‘Ganeshotsav’ and ‘Navratri’ approaching. During an earlier hearing, the high court, while citing a Supreme Court judgement, had observed that the fundamental right of practising or professing religion did not extend to “any and every place”. It had said that while the civic bodies can grant permission for construction of temporary pandals during festivals like ‘Ganpati’ or ‘Navratri’, these structures should not be erected on public roads and pavements. The high court had observed in March last year that every citizen has a fundamental right to silence and to live in peace and comfort and the same cannot be disturbed by organisers celebrating various religious festivals.