The Advocates' Association of Western India has condemned the Maharashtra government for accusing a Bombay High Court judge of being biased and seeking transfer of the noise pollution rules matters.
The Advocates’ Association of Western India has condemned the Maharashtra government for accusing a Bombay High Court judge of being biased and seeking transfer of the noise pollution rules matters, and asked the chief justice to take appropriate action in the issue. Chief Justice Manjula Chellur on August 24 transferred all petitions pertaining to noise pollution rules to another bench following the government’s request. The government had filed an application before the chief justice alleging that Justice A S Oka, who was hearing the petitions, was “harbouring a serious bias against the state machinery in this matter”. While Justice Oka had refused to recuse himself from the case, the chief justice passed an administrative order transferring all the petitions to a special bench of justices Anoop Mohta and G S Kulkarni. The AAWI passed a resolution after holding an emergency meeting today condemning the state government’s move. “The managing committee strongly condemns the government of Maharashtra’s tactic in alleging bias against Justice A S Oka at a point of time where the matter was substantially heard,” the resolution passed by AAWI read. “The committee further condemns the irresponsible, unethical, capricious stand taken by the government of Maharashtra in an ongoing litigation with an intention to malign the image of an upright and judicious judge of the high court,” AAWI secretary Viresh Purwant said in the resolution. The association has requested the HC chief justice to take appropriate action in the matter.
The Bombay Bar Association also called for an Extraordinary General Meeting on August 28 to discuss and pass an appropriate resolution on the matter. The bench headed by Justice Oka and the state government were at loggerheads on whether an order passed by the high court in 2016 would continue to operate despite an amendment to the Noise Pollution Rules issued this year which said any area/zone would have to be declared as a silence zone by the government. The order had said that areas not less than 100 meters from hospitals, educational institutions and courts constitute as silence zones and hence, no specific declaration to that effect was necessary. The government had last week informed the court that pursuant to the amendment, no silence zones exist in the state as of date. The government would now carry out a fresh exercise to identify areas which would be declared as silence zones, it had said.
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The state’s advocate general Ashutosh Kumbakoni had said by virtue of this amendment, the August 2016 order of the high court cannot be operated. The bench headed by Justice Oka, however, had expressed its prima facie opinion that its order would continue to operate until the state government filed an application seeking to review the 2016 order and the application was heard and decided.