The Bombay High Court on Tuesday questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s decision to re-designate “private toilets” in petrol pumps as public toilets, PTI reported. The court was hearing a petition filed by owners of petrol pumps across Mumbai against a notice issued by the civic body on December 22, 2017.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had installed signboards at petrol pumps across the cities that informed members of the public they had free access to toilets at the facilities, the petitioners said.
The division bench of Justices AS Oka and Riyaz Iqbal Chagla said it was the BMC’s duty to build the toilets under the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission. “Which law can allow you to convert private toilets into public toilets,” Justice Oka asked the civic body.
The petitioners informed the court that the civic body had asked them to make the toilets at their petrol pumps available to the public for free under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The civic body’s counsel, however, said the corporation was trying to expand the cause of the Centre’s mission. “A meeting was held and the petitioners had allowed us to use these toilets for public purpose during emergency,” the counsel told the court.
The court ordered the civic body to implement the scheme in accordance with the law and ordered the authority to remove the signboards. “What is the source of power that allows BMC to claim that toilets inside private petrol pumps are public toilets?” the bench asked the BMC.
“The Swachh Bharat Mission cannot affect the rights of others like this,” the high court said.