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Mumbai police have obligation to help civic body: Bombay HC


Press Trust of India Mumbai
The Bombay High Court today said that Mumbai police had an obligation to assist the staff of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) whenever the latter sought its aid in implementing civic rules, or exercising its legal powers.

A bench of justices AS Oka and R I Chagla also directed the Mumbai police commissioner to constitute a nodal committee to ensure that its officials were available to assist the MCGM staff in the discharge of their official duties.

The directions came while the bench was hearing a petition filed by MCGM seeking that it be exempted from paying a fee to the Mumbai police each time that the latter's personnel accompanied civic staff for demolition or removal of dilapidated buildings, illegal structures etc.

MCGM had said that the police often express reluctance in sending its officials to accompany civic staff on demolition assignments citing non-payment or delay in payment of a fee in lieu of its services.

On the last hearing yesterday, the bench had directed the Maharashtra government to clarify the legal provisions that entitled the police to demand such fee from the MCGM.

However, the state's counsel today submitted that he was yet to receive instructions on the above from the Maharashtra government.

The bench thus directed the state government, the Mumbai police commissioner and the MCGM commissioner to conduct a joint meeting and resolve the issue of fees while ensuring that there was no unwarranted or excess burden imposed upon the state exchequer.

"However, we must clarify that the police cannot refuse to extend aid to the civic staff if a demand of reasonable assistance is made to maintain order and to exercise its legal powers," the bench noted.

"The commissioner of police, and all other concerned police officials have a legal obligation to extend aid to MCGM for maintaining law and order, and for implementing the rules of the civic body," it said.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 7:30 PM IST

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