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Lawyer's 'nuisance' raises PMC's pothole headache

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 - 2:49am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Anything that's risk to life is compensable; Sarode uses dna cuttings to his case study

A socio-legal organisation, Sahayog Trust has approached the court to fix up the responsibility for any nuisance caused to citizens because of potholes or open manholes or any such oversight on the commissioner of the local authority. It will now strengthen its case on the basis of case studies that appeared in dna newspaper.

Speaking to dna, lawyer Asim Sarode who has floated the idea of Sahayog and represents activist Vikas Shinde in the court in one such case, said that under section 431 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act 1949, any possible injury to a citizen due to potholes could be contested in the court of law. The trust, through its network of socio-legal activists, has filed cases against ten municipal corporations under the same provisions to create awareness amongst the common people, including one against the commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Last week, dna had reported the case of Shraddha Damle, a resident of Bhusari Colony, who fell into an open manhole that was not visible due to water logging. dna also carried a report on activist Vilas Lele who presented a CD of 300 photographs of drainage lids to PMC commissioner and group leaders pointing out how missing or improper drainage lids could be dangerous.

In a bid to strengthen Sahayog’s case, Sarode would now take up the cases of Shraddha Damle and Vilas Lele. “We would be attaching affidavits of Lele and Damle so that while pleading for citizens, we get more case studies,” he said.

Sarode and his colleagues from Sahayog have cited a number of instances where citizens have had problems because of potholes.

He informed that since the case has been filed before JMFC (PMC) Court and it could be prolonged by postponing the date of hearing giving some or the other reason.

The complainant Shinde has sent a letter to PMC and JMFC for urgent hearing of the case since it involved larger public interest.

Sarode tells what ‘nuisance’ means
Sarode said that under section 2 (40) of BPMC Act 1949, the word nuisance is explained as “any act, condition, place or thing which is likely to cause injury, danger, annoyance or often to the sense of signs, smell, hearing or which is or may be dangerous to life or injurious to health or property”. He said that under this provision the pothole fits in the term ‘nuisance’ and the onus is on the PMC commissioner and the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) can direct the PMC commissioner to rectify the effect of the nuisance or compensate for the same.

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