NGO goes to court over 'noisy' Navratri mandal

Published: Oct 24, 2012, 07:24 IST | A Correspondent |

After allowing the Navyuvak Mitra Mandal in Mulund to organise its Navratri function once again this year, the Bombay High Court received a complaint from the Awaaz Foundation, an eco-friendly NGO based in Mumbai.

The issue began when the mandal was refused permission to conduct any activities, as the area had been notified a silence zone early this year and an eye hospital and nursing clinic were in the immediate vicinity.

The mandal had then approached the court challenging rejection of its application. Noting that the mandal had been conducting Navratri functions for the past several years in the area, the division bench of Chief Justices Mohit S Shah and NM Jamdar directed the petitioner to submit no-objection certificates from the eye hospital and nursing home to the authorities by 6 pm on Tuesday, after which they could conduct the festivities. However, the court ordered the use of distributed sound systems and low-watt speakers to ensure permitted noise level norms were not flouted.

The Awaaz Foundation, headed by Sumaira Abdulali, moved court yesterday alleging that the mandal was violating the court order and recordings of sound levels monitored on Monday night were between 67 and 97 decibels.

The mandal’s lawyers, however, told the court that it was not possible to organise the prohibitively expensive systems suggested by the court at the last minute. Nor was it possible to control the noise levels of the gathered crowd. The foundation’s lawyers argued that as per law, loudspeakers were not even permitted in a silence zone. They wanted the court to cancel the permissions granted to the organisers.

The court disposed of the petition while adding that permission, if granted would be similar to that available to other organisers, and as per the state government notification it could hold the function till midnight on the last two days — Monday and Tuesday. The court also suggested that in future, organisers must approach authorities well in advance for permissions to hold such functions and would also have to move the function to an open ground, rather than a public road. 

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