Bad Roads, Potholes: Bombay HC Summons 6 Municipal Commissioners in MMRDA Region
Moneylife Digital Team 09 August 2023
Irked over the dismal conditions of roads, which are full of potholes across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the Bombay High Court (HC) on Wednesday summoned municipal commissioners of six municipal corporations across the MMRDA. It includes municipal commissioners from BrihanMumbai Municipal Corp (BMC), Thane Municipal Corp (TMC), Navi Mumbai Municipal Corp (NMMC), Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corp (KDMC), Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corp (MBMC) and Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC).
 
A division bench of chief justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyay and justice Arif Doctor was livid after learning about frequent accidents even five years after HC's order on the issue. "We require the presence of the BMC commissioner and the commissioners of the other municipal corporations to explain as to why they should not be made liable for disobedience and non-compliance of court orders," it says.
 
Advocate Jamshed Mistry, the Court-appointed amicus curiae, says, "The Bombay HC was anguished at the condition of the roads with potholes and manholes almost five years after final orders were passed in the matter. They have summoned the concerned municipal commissioners to give their explanation on Friday."
 
The bench was hearing a contempt petition filed by advocate Raju Thakker seeking action against civic authorities for failing to follow the Bombay HC orders passed in 2018 for repairing roads across the MMRDA region. 
 
In April 2018, the division bench consisting of justice PN Deshmukh and justice AS Oka had directed government agencies like the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) or BMC, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd (MSRDC), City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) to take appropriate steps in according to the court-issued guidelines. 
 
The bench also widened the ambit of what constitutes a 'bad road',looking beyond the problem of potholes. Uneven surfaces, unlit street lights, or even roads with open manholes with no proper barricade, paver blocks and footpaths are considered bad roads.  
 
The Court reiterated, "It is an obligation of the corporation to take measures to ensure safe and orderly passage of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the street," and further added that proper street lighting and cleansing of public streets should be facilitated.
 
The Court, pointing at the apathy faced by citizens due to substandard works by the civic bodies, stated that "No city can become a Smart City unless its streets and footways are always maintained in a very good condition". (Read: Bombay HC Issues Guidelines to Fix Roads; Orders Setting Up Grievance Redress System for Public to Complain)
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