The Shiv Sena remained defiant and denied violating any noise rules even as the police filed a first information report (FIR) against the organisers of Sunday’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park, for violating the Bombay High Court’s order on noise levels.
“We know that the police have filed an FIR against the Sena. All we can say is that we have not violated any law,” Sanjay Raut, Sena Member of Parliament and executive editor of the party’s mouthpiece, Saamna, said on Monday.
Sena chief Bal Thackeray, in his address to party workers during the rally, had said no directives could stop him or his party workers from speaking out. “The voices of sainiks are so loud that they cannot be confined to these limits,” Thackeray had said.
The high court, when granting the Sena permission to hold the rally at the historic ground, which is a silence zone, had ordered that noise levels be maintained below 50 decibels (dB) but sound meters showed that the noise exceeded this limit.
The rules say noise levels in silence zones should not exceed 50dB during the day and 45dB after 10 pm. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said Shivaji Park is a notified silence zone.
“All the rules related to silence zones should be followed here,” said Kishore Kshirsagar, deputy municipal commissioner responsible for the south central Mumbai zone that includes
Suresh Shetty, state environment minister, said: “A report will be submitted to the court and the further course of action will be decided.”
Vineet Agarwal, the additional commissioner of police (central region), said Ashwati Dorje, deputy commissioner of police (zone V), will present the report in the high court. “The permission was granted after the court’s order but the decibel levels have not kept its sanctity so we will inform the court,” Agarwal said, adding that the offence can attract a penalty of Rs 5,000.
Sumaira Abdulali, anti-noise pollution activist and founder of Awaaz Foundation who monitored noise levels at Sunday’s rally, claimed there was deliberate violation of rules and decibel levels did not go below 50dB at any point during the rally.
“The decibel levels were at an average or 75dB to 80dB and peaked at 93dB,” Abdulali said.
“Under the Environment Protection Act and the noise pollution rules, the organisers will have to pay a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh.”
Abdulali demanded that the organisers and all party leaders, who exceeded the permissible decibel levels during their speeches, be given up to five years in prison.