BENGALURU: Indiranagar residents, fighting a long drawn battle against loud music from pubs, illegally constructed rooftop bars and roadside parking outside their houses, found a strong ally in the High Court on Thursday as the court pulled up the police for failing to act on their complaints.
In a scathing oral observation of the methods of the city police, the court termed the police efforts on curbing noise pollution in the area as ‘casual’. Hearing public interest litigation filed by the Defence Colony Residents’ Welfare Association, the court orally ordered the police to submit a schedule by next Wednesday, indicating the measures they were going to take to check noise levels, including surprise checks.
“How casual the police officers are… it is very unfortunate that they have not ventured to go after 12.30 am to check noise levels but they went in the evening. Nobody can do this… don’t take chances like this,” the division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H T Narendra Prasad warned the police asking them to provide protection to the residents.
Further, the court said, “We are making it very clear that we will never tolerate such mischief with the court. If this casual approach continues, we will have to take the extreme step of summoning the police commissioner.” The police will have to submit these details in a sealed cover with an affidavit by a senior police officer confirming the details.
Appearing on behalf of the police Special Counsel AS Ponnanna said that they had procured 6 sound level meters and given it to the Indiranagar police on June 13. The counsel told the court that there were no complaints of noise pollution when they visited areas with officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
However, the court did not accept the explanation. “What time did your officers go there and record readings. The allegations are that there is noise pollution late at night and early morning. If the noise is after 10 pm, your officers went there before. Is this a joke on which we are spending time?,” the court observed asking for readings recorded after 1 am as well as details on how many officers are present.
The police were also pulled up for procuring just six sound level meters. “For the entire city, only six were procured? The allegations are serious and are a violation of Article 21 and cannot be ignored. Police officers don’t even take the risk of signing the reports, KSPCB officials have signed it,” the court observed.
Arguing for the petitioners, the senior counsel also pointed out that most pubs and bars were just temporary structures on the roof of the buildings, which is prohibited. The court then directed BBMP officials to visit the sites as well. “We need a statement from the BBMP by Wednesday as to how much time it requires to complete this exercise”, the court said.