The state government has been given three weeks to submit an affidavit to the Bombay high court on whether Shivaji Park was reserved as a recreational ground or a playground in the sanctioned development plan.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation, on Thursday, filed by Wacom Trust seeking a complete ban on non-sporting activities at Shivaji Park. The non-government organisation has also asked that the civic body declare it a silence zone under the Noise Control Regulations, 2000.
On Thursday, while arguing for the petitioner, senior lawyer Virag Tulzapurkar complained that the civic body was flouting legal provisions while granting permission for non-sporting activities on the ground.
He said though the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act allowed non-sporting activities on sports grounds for a maximum of 30 days a year, permission was being given for a many more days in the case of Shivaji Park.
Tulzapurkar pointed out that BMC had executed several vacant-land tenancies in favour of schools and sporting bodies and documents showed that Shivaji Park was reserved in the sanctioned development plan as a playground.
BMC counsel KK Singhavi disputed this, saying the development plan showed Shivaji Park as a recreational ground and therefore non-sporting activities could not be restricted.
In addition to the state’s affidavit, the court has also directed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to file an affidavit clarifying why the historic ground has not been declared a silence zone despite a high court order passed back in May 2010. Tulzapurkar pointed out that despite the court order, the civic body had not declared Shivaji Park a silence zone.
Singhavi, however, submitted that the state government had sought a clarification from the Centre on whether the schools, medical institutions and religious shrines mentioned in the silence zone rules included places like small nursery schools, clinics and small temples. He said the clarification was yet to come.