The Shiv Sena will hold its Dussehra rally on October 17 at Shivaji Park this year but the trademark sounds of instruments such as the tutari and zhanza and songs it plays every year.
A Bombay High Court division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice DY Chandrachud on Monday allowed the party to continue its 40-year-old tradition of holding the Dussehra rally in its bastion but ordered that the party adhere to noise pollution rules that limit the noise levels to 50 decibels (dB).
The Sena said it will rework the program and make sure the Sainiks assembling for the rally do not disturb the surrounding area. “We will cut down on a few things like the music we play before the rally starts. The speeches will take place like they do every year,” said Anil Desai, the party’s general secretary.
Desai said party leaders would instruct Sainiks to ensure they assemble and disperse in a disciplined manner and avoid causing commotion.
The Sena had to approach the high court to seek permission for holding the Dussehra rally after the police refused it permission because the high court had declared Shivaji Park a silence zone in May, following a public interest litigation.
DN Nalavade, government pleader, supported the Sena’s petition saying there was a shortage of space in Mumbai. “There are not many places where meetings can be conducted,” Nalavade said.
KK Singhvi, counsel for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the owner of the ground, said people had a right to assemble and propagate their views. “You can’t say, don’t have meetings. That is against the fundamental rights. In the old days, even Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru used to have such meetings,” Singhvi said.
Singhvi said the rules impose a limit of 50 dB in the day and 40 dB at night, after 10 pm.
The Sena was apprehensive about the court’s ban on using loudspeakers at the venue because such a large gathering cannot be held without speakers. “Won’t Sonia Gandhi’s meetings have loudspeakers?” Singhvi asked, while supporting Thorat’s arguments.
The Dussehra rally is an important event during which the party reaches out to its traditional voter base and makes its stand clear on various issues.