The rally, which is slated to take place on October 24, will witness thousands of party workers pack the ground, which was declared a ‘Silence Zone’.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Nitin Jamdar were hearing a notice of motion filed by the saffron party in the writ petition of Wecom trust, the Shivaji Park’s residents’ association.
With the saffron party requiring permission of the court to conduct the annual rally, the court, while granting permission, has ordered Shiv Sena to use ‘distributed sound systems’ and install ‘sound barriers’, and also permitted NGOs to monitor noise levels at the venue. The bench also directed Shiv Sena to ensure the cricket pitches on the ground are not damaged. The rally will take place between 5 pm and 9 pm.
The Shiv Sena joined the Wecom Trust petition, challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) denial of permission for the rally for the third year in a row. The civic body cited court orders that declared the Shivaji Park area as a silence zone.
Awaaz Foundation, which has been crusading against noise pollution in the city, was an intervener in the matter. The court ordered Awaaz Foundation to monitor the decibel levels at Shivaji Park during the rally and report its findings to the court.
When contacted, activist Sumaira Abdul Ali of Aawaaz foundation, said, “They have already violated the norms twice in the past, but yet the court gave them an exceptional permission. But along with this, the court has also given them certain limitations. The court should not have granted them permission in the first place, but I will carry out my duty on the day to check whether they are violating the limitations this year. And if they are found violating the norms, I will inform the court about the same.”
In January, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had filed an application, praying that the HC direct the BMC to allow them to use Shivaji Park for a ‘public meeting’, shortly before the civic polls. When the permission was rejected, MNS chief Raj Thackeray had criticised the court’s decision and accused the court of bias. This eventually led to contempt proceedings being initiated against Raj, which is still to come up for hearing.
The open space at the park is for children to play and not to conduct rallies and create noise pollution. I feel the permission should not have been granted, as it is troublesome for residents.
The rally is a time-honoured tradition, which has been going on for years. I feel it should continue, as it’s only a one-day problem, which is not much of hassle that can’t be handled.