Citizens lament that a lack of awareness results in physical hearings in the BMC

by Web Desk | Published: 14 Sep 2022

BMC Elections 2022
Two months later, despite the fact that citizens can seek a virtual appeal hearing in quasi-judicial cases at the BMC, minimal awareness of the option and lack of communication when they are called for an appeal force them to travel and be physically present.
After coming to a standstill due to movement limitations during the Covid-19 period, a group of RTI activists moved the high court to request online hearings in quasi-judicial proceedings. The court requested that the first appeal's appeal stage proceedings be held, and the government agreed. After limitations were loosened, residents once more requested that the facility be used for post-Covid hours to save both resident's and officers' time and effort.
At that time, the state government directed several departments to take action in this direction. The BMC issued a circular in the final week of June recommending that quasi-judicial hearings be conducted online. However, many people were unaware of the virtual hearing option due to a lack of awareness and residents not being notified about the choice when an indication of appeal is made.
When the case reached the appeals stage, an applicant named Anand Bhandare stated, "I have filed some applications but there was no virtual hearing." In response to questions, Milin Sawant, Joint Commissioner of the BMC department responsible for general administration, said, "We have posted the circular online and it is in the public domain for everyone to see. Anyone who has questions about a virtual hearing should display the circular and request one from the offending officer. The officers have been given all the required infrastructure for the situation, he continued.