Tuesday, 19 October 2021

No threat of Third Wave : High Court to Maha Govt

No threat of Third Wave : High Court to Maha Govt

An aspect of the Covid-19 threat diminishing and lockdown norms being relaxed substantially,

On Tuesday, the Bombay high court directed the state to reconsider its order asking the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not to conduct a standing committee meeting and take a final decision within five days on the covid report.

The court also guided the Chairman of the BMC's standing committee to allow members to attend the standing committee meeting conducted at 2 pm physically.

The order was progress in PIL filed by two BJP counselors who claimed that their views and voices were not being considered online and want the meeting to hold physically.

The bench of Justice M S Karnik and chief justice Dipankar Datta while hearing the PIL filed by Vinod Mishra and Makarand Narwekar, members of the BMC's SC,

They were informed by advocates Amogh Singh and Jeet Gandhi that the PIL was filed challenging December 21, 2020, and June 28, 2021 notifications of the state government, which stipulated that the SC meeting of the BMC should be held through video conferencing.

The advocates referred to the HC's October 20, 2020 order wherein the bench had expressed that the SC meeting should be held physically and not through VC.

No threat of Third Wave High Court to Maha Govt 1unsplash image

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It was further submitted that as VC meetings were being conducted to bulldoze agendas involving crores of rupees of public money without deliberations,

the PIL sought an urgent hearing as the Chairman of the SC, while issuing the agenda for the October 5 meeting, had announced that it would be held through VC.

The advocates further submitted that as the lockdown conditions had been relaxing substantially across various sectors,

the Chairman of SC should be directed to allow members to physically attend the meeting scheduled to be held at 2 pm and also sought setting aside the two-state government notifications as the need for VC meetings did not exist anymore.

However, senior counsel Anil Sakhare for the BMC submitted that the VC mode did not disallow any members from placing their say on the issues on the agenda. Hence, the claims of the petitioners were not maintainable.

After hearing the submissions, the bench observed, "The prevailing situation in Mumbai does not point to any imminent third wave of the pandemic. Schools and colleges have re-opened, and children are attending the schools and colleges physically. All the courts in the State of Maharashtra are functioning as in the pre-pandemic days…In such a situation, it defies logic as to why only a few of the Standing Committee members including its Chairman would be permitted to attend the meeting physically and the rest required to attend through the virtual platform. If any member of the Standing Committee wishes to participate in the meeting physically, he should be allowed to do so."

The court then directed the department of the state to take an appropriate decision within five days as to why physical meetings could not be conducted by the civic corporation and controlled the decision before the next SC meetings and disposed of the PIL.

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