Shivaji Park is for kids, not netas: High Court

Updated: Dec 03, 2016, 15:04 IST | Vinay Dalvi

Bombay High Court is having none of it. HC rejected a petition filed by the Shivaji Park Gymkhana seeking permission to hold recreational events on the Shivaji Park ground on December 25 and New Year's Eve

The HC made its displeasure clear about the open space becoming a dumping ground for celebrations, be it political rallies or other events. File picThe HC made its displeasure clear about the open space becoming a dumping ground for celebrations, be it political rallies or other events. File pic

The Bombay High Court is having none of it. Yesterday, it rejected a petition filed by the Shivaji Park Gymkhana seeking permission to hold recreational events on the Shivaji Park ground on December 25 and New Year's Eve. A bench of justices Vidyadhar Kanade and Nutan Sardesai said it was necessary to step in and stop the trend of celebrating festivals on the ground at residents’ cost.

The HC observed that no organisation can claim a right to city’s open spaces. File pic
The HC observed that no organisation can claim a right to city’s open spaces. File pic

Unhappy with the open space having become a dumping ground for celebrations, the HC observed that no organisation can claim a right to city’s open spaces.

A trust formed by the area’s residents — WECOM — is against the gymkhana’s programme, saying that the latter, for the last four years, has been assuring that it will find an alternative place (for its events), and till then, it should be given permission to hold them on the ground.

Early birds
The residents alleged that the civic body has taken the ground since November 21 for carrying out Mahanirvan Day on December 6. They were supposed to take it only on December 1, but instead, they parked themselves on it in advance; since then, the children have not been able to play there, locals part of the trust said in court.

Senior counsel SU Kamdar, representing the BMC, said that the corporation took charge early as several people had already reached, and hence, it had to start preparations, which can become difficult.

“We have to install mobile toilets and other facilities,” he argued. Justice Kanade then formed a committee comprising senior state officials, municipal secretaries and some members of WECOM as well as the organisers of Mahanirvan Day to consider finding an alternative spot to hold such large-scale events in the future. The court suggested the MMRDA ground, Somaiya ground and Azad Maidan.

'Don’t spoil sports'
The apex court and HC have taken much effort to lay down norms against noise pollution and the Noise pollution control and Regulation Act must be implemented without any exceptions, the judges said, adding, “We must also note that the Shivaji Park ground is one of the few open spaces left in the city and it must not be used for non-sporting activities.”

The BMC said around 8 lakh people visit the Shivaji Park during Mahanirvan Day.

Justice Kanade then observed, “What will you do when this figure goes up to 20 lakh? You need to come up with a solution. People residing near Shivaji Park are forced to leave their homes during Ganeshotsav due to the inconvenience.”

The court has given the state and the BMC four weeks to file their replies on the issue.

45
No. of days in a year events can be held on Shivaji Park

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