The Bombay High Court told civic authorities while hearing a petition asking for action against illegal pandals and violations of noise pollution norms that they must follow the principles of secularism.
Justice A S Oka and Justice A K Menon of the division bench made the comment after the advocate for the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) stated that earlier HC orders directing demolishment of illegal pandals were being seen as being opposed to festivals.
Lawyer Ram Apte urged the court to not stop religious festivals. He told the court that out of the 18 pandals that had been constructed illegally, 13 were subsequently regularised. He argued that as long as the pandal organizers were acting within the boundaries of law and not obstructing road traffic they should not be penalised harshly.
High Court Not Against Religious Festivals
Justice Oka stated that the Court was not seeking to stop religious festivals and only wanted to ensure that the civic authorities were following the law. The court highlighted that the authorities must work according to principles of secularism and not go by public sentiments .
The High Court bench was hearing a set of petitions that are seeking that the rules under Noise Pollution Rules and Regulations be implemented strictly and illegal pandals be barred.
The bench issued show cause notices last week to the Commissioners of a number of local municipalities including the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation, and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, asking them to explain why action should not be taken against them.
The matter will be next heard by the court on November 30.