Mumbai: After waiting for 20 days, Shiv Sena on Wednesday approached the Bombay High Court seeking directions to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to forthwith grant permission for its annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park.
The petition prays that the HC direct the BMC to grant permission to the party to hold their annual rally on October 5 from 5 pm to 10 pm within 3 days.
Joel Carlos, the advocate for Sena, mentioned the plea before a division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and Kamal Khata seeking urgent hearing in the petition. "There is no reason for BMC to not grant permission. The application has to be decided forthwith,” said Carlos.
The judges have kept the plea for hearing on Thursday, September 22.
The plea states that Shiv Sena was formed as a political party in 1966 by the late Balasaheb Thackeray, who began his professional career as a cartoonist in the English daily, the Free Press Journal. Since then Shiv Sena has been holding its "Dussehra Melawa" (rally) at Shivaji Park.
"Bal Thackeray thought it fit that a public meeting or a rally should be organised for informing the people of Maharashtra about the future goals and party policies,” read the petition.
Accordingly on October 20, 1966, the Shiv Sena’s first Dussehra Melawa was held on the auspicious day of Dussehra/Vijayadashimi at Shivaji Park, Dadar.
However, Shiv Sena was registered as a political party on October 19, 1989.
The petition states that the HC, in October 2015, granted it permission to hold the rally at Shivaji Park.
In June 2016, the State government issued a notification regulating Shivaji Park ground for non-sports/ recreational activities. The notification "expressly referred to and permitted the Dussera Melawa", reads the petition.
Hence, BMC granted permission to Sena to hold the rally till 2019. In 2020 and 2021 the rally was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the petition, for the rally, party workers and leaders throughout the State arrive at Shivaji Park “without any formal invitation".
Shiv Sena made an application to BMC on August 22 and 26 to hold the rally on October 5 this year. “However, although more than 20 days have elapsed the respondents (BMC) have not responded and granted the usual permission,” reads the petition.
Along with the application, the party also submitted an undertaking of compliance with various provisions of law. The plea highlights that never has there been any violation of conditions or disruption of law and order situation on account of the Dussehra rally.
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