In a blow to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's apparent attempt to score brownie points over its arch rival Shiv Sena, the Bombay High Court today refused to grant permission to the Raj Thackeray-led party to hold a public meeting at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.
MNS had approached the high court through its President of Dadar division, Sandip Deshpande, seeking permission to use loud speakers at the rally to be held on February 13 at Shivaji Park.
The regional outfit approached the high court after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) refused to give them a go ahead based on an earlier order passed by the court declaring Shivaji Park as a silence zone. Use of loud speakers is prohibited in a silence zone.
"If permission is granted in one case then we would not be in a position to deny permission if any other political party approaches the court," a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R V More said.
The bench accepted the arguments put forth by the Maharashtra government that no permission should be granted to any meeting connected for the civic elections, including Mumbai, to be held on February 16.
"These political parties and their supporters don't come silently. They shout slogans and use loud speakers which are banned under the Noise Pollution rules in a silence zone," additional government pleader P G Lad said.
The BMC counsel while justifying the permission granted to Shiv Sena earlier to hold its Dusshera rally at Shivaji Park said, "Permissions were granted earlier for cultural and religious events but cannot be granted for meetings prior to elections".
Advocate Sandeep Aole, appearing for NGO Wecom Trust on whose petition Shivaji Park was declared silence zone argued that even after assuring the court that they would abide by the noise pollution rules, political parties often violate them by using loud speakers thus increasing the noise level above 50 decibel.
"In the Dusshera rally held by Shiv Sena there were blatant violations of the noise pollution rules," he claimed.
Counsel Y S Jahagirdar maintained that MNS would be holding the rally in the day time. He also tried to convince the court saying there would not be any violations by the party of the provisions of the Noise Pollution (Control) Act.