High Court to state: Why no law to regulate rallies in Bengaluru?
High Court called the state government’s conduct “contemptuous” for not putting in place a law to regulate public assemblies and processions in Bengaluru. The court was responding to a PIL filed by an advocate A V Amaranathan. He was seeking a direction to the state, to notify the Licensing and Controlling of Assemblies and Processions (Bangalore City) Order, 2008.
The government had notified the draft order years ago. In April 2011, the High Court had disposed of PILs related to the problems caused by rallies and bandhs, after the government gave an undertaking that it would issue the final order within three months. However, the government never passed the order.
Pointing out that a protest on June 25th by reservation-seeking groups had created traffic snarls, the petitioner said that a law was essential to contain groups or mobs. The court has asked state government to submit its response by July 26th.
HC slams state for neglecting lakes
High Court has pulled up the state government and its agencies for neglecting Bengaluru’s lakes, tanks and other water bodies. The court was responding to a writ petition filed in 2014 by Leo Saldanha, coordinator of the NGO Environment Support Group. It lambasted BBMP and other civic agencies for not even being aware of the total number of lakes in the city and the ones that have gone missing.
Allowing disappearance of lakes is a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees citizens a quality of life free from pollution. Hence authorities have a constitutional obligation – rather than just a legal obligation – to protect the city’s water bodies, the court ruled.
HC further ordered the state government and BBMP to prepare a survey report of lakes before the next hearing on August 5th. State and BBMP also have to appoint a committee consisting of experts from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to study lakes in detail. This committee is to study the causes of pollution and disappearance of lakes, and also make recommendations for their restoration.
BBMP data on dengue, chikungunya insufficient, says Health Dept
The Department of Health and Family Welfare has rapped the BBMP for submitting insufficient data on dengue and chikungunya cases. Health department has been meeting officials from various urban local bodies to assess the situation and discuss measures to be taken.
Principal Secretary of the department, Pankaj Kumar Pandey, wrote to BBMP Commissioner that BBMP officials were neither sending timely reports nor attending crucial meetings.
Meanwhile, BBMP claimed that the spurt in dengue cases was not because the number of cases increased, but because more cases were being reported unlike earlier. Of nearly 2000 private healthcare institutions in the city, 500 were reporting cases, BBMP said. On July 15th, BBMP sent a circular asking all institutions to submit data regularly.
Vasanthnagar residents submit report on streetlights
Citizens for Citizens, an association of activists and residents around Vasanthnagar, recently surveyed every street in their neighbourhood to identify the status of streetlights. The group has submitted a detailed report to the BBMP, requesting replacement and reparation of faulty lights. About 65 of 440 streetlights in the area do not work, and a large number are ineffective as they are located near trees. The group has also requested BBMP to install new streetlights in stretches that don’t have any.
Vasanthnagar residents’ ire had been triggered by the recent theft of a pair of shoes worth Rs 15,000 right outside a house. The residents then realised that non-functioning street lights and dark spots were aiding crime in the area. Now, citizens from other localities are planning similar surveys.