Nagpur: Facing the heat of High Court warning of severe action including arrest of Commissioner of Police and Municipal Commissioner for non-compliance of its earlier orders to remove all temporary/ permanent structures including religious from public places, the concerned authorities finally acted and removed the permanent pandal near Meetha Neem Dargah near Vidhan Bhavan that was blocking traffic and creating other problems well before the court deadline of Friday morning. Probably, in a late night swoop on Thursday itself, the authorities got rid of the pandal and cleared the road near Meetha Neem Dargah for smooth traffic.
Earlier, during hearing on the PIL on Thursday, taking very serious view of the breach of specific joint undertaking given by the Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar and Commissioner of Police S P Yadav to the High
Court in the PIL filed by Manohar B Khorgade, a retired MLA Hostel employee and others through Adv Firdos Mirza, seeking removal of all encroachments under the guise of religion, a Division Bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice VM Deshpande had directed the concerned authorities to remove the ‘pandal’ and other structures from the public road near the Museum by Friday morning and to remain present before the court at 10.30 am.
The High Court, in harsh words, had denounced the approach of authorities, particularly the Commissioner of Police and Municipal Commissioner, in not removing illegal religious structures from the public places. The court said that it may be constrained to order their arrest for non-compliance its orders.
Rattled by the High Court observation and subsequent warning of penal action, the concerned departments, in order to save their bosses of embarrassment, acted swiftly and removed the pandal on Thursday night itself to meet the deadline.
During the hearing, the High Court had warned that it would not hesitate even to order arrest of Commissioner of Police and Municipal Commissioner, if the orders are not obeyed. The Joint Commissioner of Police was asked to remain present in the court to take further orders. Since the post of Joint CP is below the Commissioner of Police, if need arises, the court will have to summon Director General of Police to enforce its penal order. “How come such a pandal be allowed to be erected in such a busy area which is so close to NMC office and DCP (Traffic) office, the High Court observed.
– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( email@example.com )