The Bombay High Court on Tuesday observed that it was the state government's responsibility to provide protection to the staff carrying out demolition drive against illegal structures. It was hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking demolition of 66,000 structures in the limits of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).

The area is a stronghold of the Nationalist Congress Party. It was recently in news after people protested against the sudden transfer of former Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi from the corporation. During the hearing of this PIL in the past, Mr. Pardeshi had told the court that he had faced several threats for undertaking this demolition drive.

On Tuesday, the court directed the Pune Police Commissioner to provide protection to the Municipal Commissioner of PCMC and the staffers undertaking the drive. It also directed the corporation to issue notices to all the wrong-doers.

"Today, the court directed the corporation to issue notices to all those who hold illegal structures. The PCMC has been asked to file criminal cases against the wrong-doers, and to go ahead with the demolition drive," Uday Warunjikar, advocate for the petitioner, said.

The court also directed the PCMC to file a compliance report in the matter by April 10.

It said that pendency of regularisation cannot be held as a reason to postpone the demolition drive.