High Court bench upholds the Commissioner of Police order

Decks have been cleared for the first-ever “shifting or closing down” of an industrial unit operating in residential zone on account of noise pollution under Urban Police Act 2003.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Justice V. Gopalagowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra, on Wednesday upheld the order pronounced by Commissioner of Police Bijay Sharma to close down the noise polluting unit.

Plea dismissed

The division bench stated that there was nothing wrong in police commissioner's order on the industrial unit operator of which had contested the authority under Urban Police Act.

The High Court dismissed the application.

According to commissioner's order, a grand fabrication unit was being run in Rajarani Mouza under the purview of Lingaraj Temple that was causing annoyance, disturbance and discomfort to residents staying in the vicinity.

Earlier, Additional District Magistrate, Bhubaneswar, had found sound level produced by the industrial unit higher than the permissible noise level of 55 dB for a residential area.

In 2006, the ADM had asked the operator to reduce the sound level. Subsequently, on a surprise visit, it was found that the noise level was 88.2 dB.

The ADM had ordered the operator to limit the sound level below 55 dB. The fabrication unit owner had then moved Orissa High Court but the later upheld the order of the ADM.

When new police commissionerate system came into force for Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the case was heard afresh under Urban Police Act 2003.

Scientists of State Pollution Control Board were taken on board for measurement of noise level.

The technical committee consisting of senior police officers and scientists of SPCB had measured the noise level as per laid down procedure and in a professional manner in presence of both residents and operators and found the same much beyond the permissible limit in the residential area.

Finally, on September 3, 2009, Commissioner of Police by exercising Section 32 of UPA-2003 had ordered that the operator of the fabrication unit should close down the unit within 60 days of receipt of the order.

“We are waiting to receive Orissa High Court order. If the court had upheld my order, the closing down of industrial unit on account of noise pollution would be the first such case in the twin city. Other polluting units must learn lesson from the episode,” Mr. Sharma said here on Wednesday.

Reacting to judgment, Bibhu Prasad Tripathy, counsel for residents who raised objections over the noise pollution, said the long legal battle over noise pollution came to an end and it was up to the police to enforce the order.