Mumbai: A few months back, CNN-IBN had reported how an RTI activist had found that 300 police chowkies in the city were illegal. The petitioner had filed a PIL in the Mumbai High Court and now the court has ruled that some of these chowkies be demolished.
With such constructions becoming obstructions for traffic on roads and pavements in the city, the court has ordered them to be demolished immediately.
"Within a period of seven days, they have to demolish three chowkies, two in Khar and one in Fort," said RTI petitioner Indur Kartar Chhugani.
"There’s a balance of another 479 chowkies and they have to give a status report after seven days."
The PIL that was filed said that the police had had no approval from the Home Ministry; 21 beat chowkies had been built through private funding; and no municipal approvals had been received.
In fact, the police themselves had admitted that 269 of the 388 police chowkies did not have the requisite permissions.
For Chhugani, the court’s decision must have been a godsend for he reveals that he had been threatened many times after filing the application.
"They asked me, ‘Do you know how many people get killed in an accident everyday in Bombay?’ I knew what they were implying," said Chhugani.
But Chhugani’s petition has received support from the average Mumbaikar
"I go with the High Court's decision. I think they are doing the right thing because these illegal constructions shouldn't be there," said one supporter while another agreed that, "Whatever is illegal has to be demolished."
If this order is implemented, the keepers of the law would end up being the ones who have broken it.