Durga Puja at Shivaji Park gets court nod

The 75-year-old practice of holding the annual Durga Puja at Shivaji Park will continue this year too.

mumbai Updated: Sep 30, 2010 00:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

The 75-year-old practice of holding the annual Durga Puja at Shivaji Park will continue this year too.

A Bombay High Court division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice DY Chandrachud on Wednesday allowed the Bengal Club to hold Durga Puja from October 11 to October 17 and Kali Puja from November 5 to November 7, at Shivaji Park.

“There are two types of Indians,” chief justice Shah said. “One is the secular Indian, who wants to celebrate peacefully, and the other who wants to celebrate and make noise. We must accommodate both.”

Justice Chandrachud agreed and said: “[Cosmopolitan character is [the] microcosm of India.”

The court has asked the organisers not to use loudspeakers on the ground except for making public announcements. No vehicles will be allowed inside the park except on the first and last day of the Navratri festival for carrying the idol of Goddess Durga.

Hindustan Times had on September 24 reported about the BMC refusing permission to hold Durga Puja celebrations at Shivaji Park this year because the high court has declared the area a silence zone.

The club moved the court requesting permission to hold the puja. The court has allowed the club to do so but restrained it from having cultural programmes in the park.

It has also ordered that the number of stalls set up be restricted to 40.

The club is happy with the high court’s order. “We are as concerned about the ground as other locals are. We will ensure there is no damage to the ground or the peace and tranquility of the area,” said the club’s vice-president Amit Chowdhury.

“We had anyway decided to hold all our cultural programmes in an auditorium.”

Shailesh Shah, counsel for the Bengal Club, said the club’s office-bearers have decided to conduct the cultural programmes in an auditorium nearby. The club has also given an undertaking that it will hire a private agency to keep the ground clean.

Shivaji Park resident Ashok Rawat, whose petition had led to the area being declared a silence zone, said, “We’re glad that the club will respect silence zone norms and has promised not to park any vehicles on the ground. We would have been happier had they restricted the puja celebrations to their club premises and not on the ground because it encroaches upon children’s right to play there.”

First Published: Sep 30, 2010 00:31 IST