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The Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court today constituted a three-judge bench ("full bench") of justices Anoop Mohta, A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla to hear petitions regarding the Noise Pollution Rules, a lawyers' association said.
The petitions were earlier being heard by a bench headed by Justice Oka, but on August 24, Chief Justice Manjula Chellur transferred all the matters pertaining to the implementation of the Noise Pollution Rules (NPR) to a bench of justices Anoop Mohta and G S Kulkarni, after the Maharashtra government alleged that Justice Oka was "biased".
"....Justice A S Oka was harbouring a serious bias against the state machinery," the government had said in its plea before the chief justice, seeking transfer of the matters.
While Justice Oka had refused to recuse himself from the case, Chief Justice Chellur transferred the petitions.
Lawyers' associations had condemned the state government's accusations.
"We are happy to inform you that pursuant to the Advocates' Association of Western India's (AAWI) stand, the chief justice has constituted a larger bench consisting of Justice A S Oka, Justice A V Mohta and Justice Riyaz Chagla to hear the matters," said AAWI secretary Viresh Purwant.
However, the development could not be confirmed independently from the high court registry.
The AAWI had yesterday passed a resolution following an emergency meeting of the association, which condemned the government's "unethical, capricious stand with an intention to malign the image of an upright and judicious judge".
The Bombay Bar Association has also called an extraordinary general meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter.
The issue on which the bench headed by Justice Oka and the state government clashed was whether an order passed by the high court in 2016, declaring certain areas (such as those near hospitals) as silence zones, continued to operate, after an amendment to the NPR this year said no area would be deemed as a silence zone, unless notified so by the government.
The government had contended that hence, no silence zones existed in the state as of now.
The bench headed by Justice Oka, however, had said the 2016 order of the high court would continue to be in effect until the government applied to the court for its review and the court passed a fresh order to that effect.