The Goa Bench of Bombay High Court whilst admitting that the state authorities did nothing to stop music being played beyond the permitted noise limits during the Sunburn Festival in Vagator asked the Chief Secretary of Goa to file an affidavit entailing why court orders are being deliberately ignored.
It may be noted, Rajesh Sinary approached the court complaining that the EDM in Vagator was being held in breach of the permission dated 28-12-2022, the noise pollution rules and directions issued by the High Court by brazenly exceeding the 55dB(A) limit imposed by the permission and the rules.
Vacation High Court Judge Valmiki Menezes passed interim instructions to the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), Collector and Deputy Collector, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mapusa and Police Inspector of Anjuna Police station “to maintain strict vigil at the concerned site to ensure that under no circumstances would music be played on 30-12-2022 from 3.30 pm till 10 pm at levels above 55 dB(A).”
Taking note that noise pollution rules were deliberately not adhered to during the Sunburn Festival, the Chief Secretary of the State of Goa has been ordered to file his preliminary report, supported by his affidavit, by January 19, 2023, that should entail “whether the authorities having the necessary competence, human resources, equipment and most importantly the will to enforce the noise pollution rules.
Goa Bench of Bombay High Court
“It is pretty clear that breaches or violations reportedly occurred on all three days of the EDM, as per the GSPCB reports. Still, neither the GSPCB officials nor the police officials accept blame for preventing such breaches in the first place or failing to take stern action of confiscating or seizing the equipment to at least stop further noise pollution. Suppose violations of the rules and our repeated directions are evident, and none of the authorities accept blame and responsibility..…Therefore it is high time such violations are dealt with firmly,” read paragraph 18 of the order.
Goa Bench of Bombay High Court
“If the Authorities of the Executive fail to prevent the breaches of the Noise Pollution Rules and the repeated orders issued by this Court merely directing the implementation of such Rules, then the Authorities would be making a mockery of the rule of law, which is the basic structure of our constitution……Therefore, at least prima facie, the stance of the PI is rather strange. His failure to immediately inform the SDPO or collector is even stranger, to say the least,” is indited in paragraph 19 of the Order.
“Just because we show utmost restraint in exercising our Contempt Jurisdiction, the authorities must show no laxity or dodge compliance with judicial orders,” in what appeared to be a veiled warning to the authorities in paragraph 21 of the order.
“As a Constitutional Court, we would be failing in our duty if we tolerate the violation of the Pollution Laws or tolerate any further prima facie breaches of our repeated orders on the subject of rampant noise pollution….The Collectors or Deputy Collectors do not appear to be taking up the issue of enforcement with the desired and expected level of seriousness (as was evident from the unfortunate blame game staged out in the open Court between the officials of the GSPCB and the police). This means that the breach is apparent to the Authorities but no one was prepared to accept the responsibility,” read paragraph 23 of the order.
Paragraph 26 of the order directs, “The PI Anjuna Police Station and the SDPO Mapusa are also to file affidavits in this manner explaining their role, including, in particular, the prima facie breach of the direction issued by this High Court on 30.12.2022,”
The matter is posted for further consideration on January 24.