LANDMARK JUDGMENTS OF BOMBAY HIGH COURT
ASHOK CHAVAN GETS RELIEF
The former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan got relief from the Bombay High Court I Adarsh case, this month. A bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Sadhana Jadhav quashed and set aside the sanction order. The court was hearing a petition filed by Chavan challenging the decision of Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao granting sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the case.
NOISE POLLUTION & SILENT ZONES
Along with the petition filed by Sumaira Abdulali, of Awaaz Foundation and numerous PILs were clubbed together by the Bombay High Court challenging the blaring sounds and music that are played during festivals and this also included azaans played in mosques. There were intervening PILs too. The police took prompt suo moto action to avoid being issued a contempt of court notice by the divisional bench of Justice Abhay Oka. This led to a first of its kind of a judicial versus political struggle. In August, the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis through Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, the Advocate General had informed this bench, the government had no faith in Justice Oka. On August 24, the then Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Manjula Chellur on Thursday transferred all matters pertaining to noise pollution rules to another Bench after the Maharashtra government alleged one of the judges hearing the issue was “biased” against the administration. Prior to this controversy, the state government had removed all silent zones of Mumbai city. However, public outrage forced Mumbai police to take action on specific days and uphld the Supreme Court guidelines on noise pollution. Government was forced to apologise and the former CJ was forced to give back the PILs to J. Oka.
Giving relief to the central and state governments, the Bombay HC dismissed all the petitions challenging the Maha RERA – Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority. In a landmark order, the HC said the RERA law is for the benefit of a common person and empowers the ordinary customer. The special bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Rajesh Ketkar in its observation cited the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi, in the order, saying,”it is important to wipe every tear of every person.”
NO HAWKERS NEAR STATIONS
After the stampede on Elphistone Road bridge, on September 29, Sanjay Nirupam, the president of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the action of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to prevent hawkers from selling outside railway stations. However the divisional bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai, ordered preventing hawkers from selling within 100 metres from educational institutions like schools, colleges, religious places and hospitals. Furthermore, the HC in its order disallowed hawkers from selling within 150 metres of every railway station, including Foot-OverBridges and skywalks. This limitation also extends to the civic markets.
A Thane-based pediatrician, Dr Mahesh Bedekar had filed a PIL with the division bench of J. Oka against the illegal pandals. Justice Oka had warned to take action against those Municipal Commissioners in whose jurisdiction the breach of silent zone and other rules were breached.
In 2017, the Maharashtra government challenged the previous order of HC and termed the festival as an adventure sport. They also challenged the order by Justice Bhushan Gavai that had restricted the height of the dahi handi to nine tiers and age bar of disallowing children below the age of 14.
BAN ON NEW CONSTRUCTION
Challenging the lack of space for dumping grounds and saturation of the existing ones, the Builders’ Association had filed a review petition against the HC order demanding new space. However, the BMC informed the HC that a new project for disposal of waste and garbage dumping can begin only from 2019. In July, the civic body sought a two-month extension from the HC to prepare a waste management plan for the city. The HC also imposed a ban on new construction in the city until the BMC finds a way to manage waste.