The Bombay High Court today said that proper management and disposal of solid waste in Mumbai was the responsibility of the BMC and it could not be absolved of this duty even in cases wherein citizens breach the rules of waste disposal.
A bench of Justices A S Oka and R I Chagla said if any resident dumps waste on the road, the civic body could take punitive action against the offender, but it could not let the waste continue to lie on the road.
"You (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) will still have to collect and dispose of this waste as per the prescribed solid waste management rules. Even if a resident has breached the rules, while it is up to you to take action, you can't allow the solid waste to remain piling up on the road," the bench said.
"If a resident doesn't follow the waste disposal rules, the same doesn't absolve the BMC of its responsibility of ensuring that solid waste doesn't pile up," it said.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by the management of a restaurant in Dadar.
As per the plea, in February this year, the BMC had sent out a notice to the restaurant stating that all 'bulk generators' of solid waste in the city will henceforth have to themselves collect, segregate, and dispose of the solid waste generated by them.
According to the BMC, such establishments that generate over 100 kg of solid waste each day, are considered as bulk waste generators.
The petitioner restaurant, however, submitted that it could not be considered a bulk waste generator since it produced less than 50 kg of solid waste each day. It also wrote to the BMC informing that it did not have the wherewithal to collect and dispose of the waste in consonance with the state's solid waste disposal rules.
"The BMC, however, sent us a notice saying that irrespective of our situation, we would have to dispose of the waste ourselves. The BMC said it will stop collecting waste from our restaurant," said the petitioner's advocate Abhijit Joshi.
At this, the bench noted that since the essential issue in the plea was to decide whether or not the petitioner was a bulk waste generator, it would be appropriate for the petitioner to file a separate suit in the high court on the issue.
However, the bench told the BMC that while it was up to the civic body to implement its threat as communicated in the reply to the petitioner (that it would stop collecting the waste), the consequence of the same would create much nuisance for the general public.
"It is up to you to decide whether or not to implement the threat. However, if it does implement what it threatens to do, then the waste will continue to pile up on the roads and cause much nuisance for others in the adjoining areas, and for the general public," the bench said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)