The Bombay high court on Wednesday, granted the Kala Ghoda Association conditional permission to use Cross Maidan for hosting musical events as part of the on-going Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
The bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice PN Deshmukh has asked the association to file an unconditional undertaking within two days, stating there will not be any commercial activity or food stalls at Cross Maidan and the entry to the events held on the recreation ground will be free for all.
The court, however, rapped the city collector for adopting flawed procedure in dealing with the application of the association. “Prima facie it appears to us that the entire decision-making process is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to the use of public properties,” said the bench.
The judges were irked to note that the collector had initially granted permission for the events free of cost. Later, when a charge was levied on the organizers, no conditions were imposed.
The judges were initially reluctant to allow use of Cross Maidan for the musical events associated with the festival. However, they granted conditional permission after advocate Birendra Saraf, who represented the association, pointed out that musical events as part of the festival were being held at Cross Maidan since 2012, when Kala Ghoda area was declared a silence zone.
He assured that there will not be any food stalls or any other commercial activity at Cross Maidan.
The court was hearing a plea filed by the state government seeking permission to allow Kala Ghoda Association to use Cross Maidan for events forming part of the arts festival.
The plea was necessitated, after a petition filed by OVAL, the high court had in December 2017 restrained the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from allowing any private party to use Cross Maidan without prior permission of the court.
As carried in HT