"Do you expect people to celebrate festivals only in five star hotels," the Bombay high court asked the state government on Saturday while granting permission to an organisation from Mulund (East) to host the dandiya in an area notified as silence zone.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice Nitin Jamdar granted Navyuvak Mitra Mandal permission to host the dandiya only if it used distributed sound system instead of conventional loudspeakers to ensure the effect of noise pollution was at minimal levels.
The distributed sound system involves use of small intensity speakers instead of a few traditional huge-capacity loud speakers.
The mandal had approached the high court after local police declined them permission to host the dandiya stating that this year the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had declared the area a silence zone in view of a hospital within 40 metres of the venue.
Its counsel, MS Karnik, submitted that the mandal had been organising the dandiya at Mulund (East) for at least 15 years, and now it had become an essential part of the Navratri festival at the local level.
Assistant government pleader Niranjan Pandit, on the other hand, pointed out that till last year the area was not declared a silence zone and therefore permissions had been granted to host the dandiya.
He pointed out that the decision had been taken in view of various orders passed by the high court, the rules for regulation of noise pollution, and also the fact that an offence had already been registered against the organiser in 2009 for exceeding permissible noise levels.
The judges, however, wondered where the citizens would celebrate festivals if permissions were denied without trying to strike a balance between enforcement of rules and regulations, and rights of citizens.
"Otherwise, how will people celebrate festivals," they asked referring to the fact that although the area was declared a silence zone, the hospital was 40 metres away from the venue and had given an NOC for the event.