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BMC to hold standing committee meeting online Apr 16

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Mumbai, Apr 15: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday informed the Bombay High Court that it will hold its standing committee meeting online on April 16 at 12 pm.

The meeting was initially scheduled to be held through a video-conferencing interface on April 15. However, a plea was filed in the High Court against the decision to hold a virtual meet.

BMC to hold standing committee meeting online Apr 16

The plea filed by some corporators through advocate Jeet Gandhi was granted urgent hearing by a bench of Justices S C Gupte and Abhay Ahuja on Thursday.

Advocate Gandhi said the corporation had on April 12 announced that the standing committee meeting would be held physically on April 15. However, on April 14, it issued a notification that the meeting will be held online.

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The civic body did not give the members a mandatory 24-hour notice before announcing the virtual meet, and several members, who wished to discuss some agenda items in the meeting, had not had the time to scan the requisite documents, advocate Gandhi said, urging the court to direct the BMC to hold the meeting physically.

The BMC's counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhre, however, told the High Court that the decision to hold the meeting online had been taken following the state government's decision to impose stricter curbs on the movement and assembly of people to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

Advocate Sakhre said even in the online meeting, all procedures will be followed as usual, all agenda subjects will be called out as per the serial number, and eligible members will be given a chance to vote in favour of or against the agenda subjects discussed.

The court then asked the BMC if there was any harm in rescheduling the meeting to April 16, since doing so would give the petitioners enough time to scan their documents, make arrangements for attending the online meeting, etc.

To this, advocate Sakhre took instructions from municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal and other stakeholders and informed the court that the civic body had agreed to reschedule the meeting to April 16 at 12 pm.

The High Court accepted the civic body's statement and directed it to ensure that the petitioners were given a chance to vote as per the civic body's rules, and that they were "not muted" during the meeting.

The court also said in its order that the petitioners could record the standing committee meeting proceedings if they wished to, and disposed of the plea.

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