Shivaji Park belongs to Mumbaikars, not political parties: Bombay HC

Shivaji Park belongs to Mumbaikars, not political parties: Bombay HC
Shivaji Park, Dadar. Picture Courtesy: Shivam Ahuja

The Bombay High Court on Friday said no programmes can be held in silence zones while rejecting Shivaji Park Gymkhana’s plea for holding two functions for promoting children’s sports at Shivaji Park grounds in Mumbai.

The Gymkhana had sought permission for use of loudspeakers, among other things, despite the ground being notified as a silence zone by the High Court earlier.

“We cannot allow such programmes in silence zones such as Shivaji Park and we also prohibit the use of loudspeakers there,” said the division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade.

The petitioner’s lawyer Ravi Gadagkar said it proposed to hold a sports event for children and a fund raiser for tennis, as usually only cricket is promoted in the country and not other sports.

In 2010, the court had notified Shivaji Park as a silence zone in response to a public interest litigation filed by the NGO WeCom Trust.

Virag Tulzapurkar, WeCom Trust’s lawyer, argued that the HC had passed orders earlier banning the use of loudspeakers in silence zones, so the permission for such programmes cannot be granted.

While hearing another petition, the bench also took a stand on encroachment of open public spaces under the guise of organizing public events.

“Open spaces such as the Shivaji Park ground in Dadar does not belong to the Shiv Sena, the MNS or any other political party or organisation. Instead, it belongs solely to the people, to the residents of Mumbai,” it said.

Shivaji Park has been a popular venue for holding political rallies in the past.

The bench further directed the government to set up a high-level committee to provide facilities to the lakhs of people who gather in the area to pay homage to Dr B R Ambedkar on December 6.

The petition alleged misuse and dirtying of Shivaji Park ground by those who visit nearby ‘Chaitya Bhoomi’, Ambedkar’s memorial, on his death anniversary.

The HC suggested that the committee should have principal secretary of the concerned department and a representative of the Buddhist Society as its members, and sought the state government’s reply on this in four weeks.

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