The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to formulate a policy to regulate protests in Mumbai so the traffic is not affected and people inconvenienced.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and A A Sayed was hearing a petition filed by the Nariman Point-Churchgate Citizens’ Association and others, who were adversely affected due to the morchas.
On December 8, 1997, the high court had, in an interim order, directed all morchas (taken out in the city) to terminate at Azad Maidan near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in south Mumbai. Accordingly, the protest rallies are terminated at Azad Maidan.
Petitioners’ lawyer S C Naidu argued that although the procedure for terminating morchas and dharnas at Azad Maidan is based on HC’s interim order, the government is yet to come out with a proper policy.
In 2011, the government had set up a committee comprising Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Police Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, to look into the issue and come up with a policy.
However, till date the committee has not met even once, the court was informed.
The bench directed the three officials to meet within a month and take a decision on framing the policy.
Naidu told the court that a policy decision would mean providing facilities at the Azad Maidan and regulating traffic in such a manner that it does not inconvenience others.