The state government told the Bombay high court that Shivaji Park is a recreational ground and not a playground. That means, according to the state, no restrictions can be imposed on allowing non-sporting activities on the ground.
Sanjay Kurvey, deputy director, town planning, filed an affidavit as directed by the court earlier, stating the ground was shown as reserved for recreational purposes and not sports activities.
“On perusal of the revised development plan for the city, it is clear that the purpose of the reservation is recreational ground and not a play ground,” said Kurvey’s affidavit filed in connection with a public interest litigation filed by Wacom Trust.
A division bench comprising chief justice Mohit Shah and justice DG Karnik had sought the state’s stand after the dispute over the status of the ground.
The petitioner organisation maintained that it was a playground, and therefore non-sporting activities on the ground could not be permitted beyond 30 days a year, as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act.
The municipal corporation maintained that Shivaji Park was a recreation ground and not a playground. The court had sought the state’s opinion based on a sanctioned development plan published in gazette in view of this disputed position.
The judges expressed concern over the noise pollution at Shivaji Park, which is about to be declared as a silence zone. “Forget about the silence zone. Even considering the standards for a residential area, the ambient noise level is beyond the permissible limit,” said justice Karnik.
The judges were also irked to find few reservations for playgrounds in the city. They expressed displeasure over the fact that most of the grounds were reserved for recreational purpose and not for sporting activities.
The court also rejected a plea seeking permission to use loudspeakers during a rally to celebrate the removal of Dadoji Konddev’s statue at Pune.