Shoulder: Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park
Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) denied permission to both Shiv Sena and the rebel faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde to hold the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park on October 5, citing a possible breach of law and order situation as a result of a conflict between the two opposing factions, but the Bombay high court (HC) will hear the Uddhav Thackeray-led party’s plea challenging the civic body’s decision today.
The HC on Thursday permitted the Sena to amend its petition to challenge the civic body’s order and set the matter for hearing on Friday.
Mahim MLA Sada Sarvankar, who is part of the Shinde-led faction, filed an intervention application opposing Sena’s petition, which claimed that they suppressed information regarding the proceedings pending before the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to decide on who is the head of Shiv Sena.
The rival camps led by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Shinde have been at odds over holding the October 5 rally at Shivaji Park and filed separate applications before the BMC last month. The Thackeray faction was particularly keen to hold its annual Dussehra rally that has been the venue for the event in previous years to demonstrate that it was the “real” Sena. At an event on Wednesday to launch his party’s BMC poll campaign, Thackeray underlined that the Dussehra rally this year would be held at Shivaji park at all costs. To be sure, the ruling Eknath Shinde camp of the Shiv Sena already has secured approval to hold its event at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) grounds, apparently as a backup plan.
Ramakant Biradar, deputy municipal commissioner, Zone 2 confirmed that the civic body had denied permission to the Sena to hold its rally in the grounds. “The police has refused NOC as there could be a law and order problem and there could be a clash between two factions,” he said referring to a local police station report submitted to the BMC on September 21. “That’s why the civic body denied permissions due to denial of NOC from the police,”he said.
BMC’s G North Ward office in its letter to Sarvankar on Thursday stated that even Anil Desai from Uddhav Thackeray’s faction had applied for permissions. Citing the police report, the BMC in its refusal letter to Sarvankar said that the permission for holding the Dussehra rally was sought by two opposing factions of the Sena and it will not be possible to give a nod to only one camp as it could disrupt the peaceful environment at Shivaji Park.
The division bench of justice R D Dhanuka and justice Kamal Khata, while hearing the petition filed by the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and its secretary Anil Desai, was informed by senior advocate Aspi Chinoy that they wanted to amend the petition and include the challenge to BMC’s earlier decision.
Chinoy submitted that due to the urgency, the court should allow the amendment and hear the petition after lunch. However, senior advocate Milind Sathe, for the BMC, opposed the request for amendment of the petition, saying that a new petition should be filed.
After hearing both sides, the bench held that as the petition had raised larger issues, hence it was allowing the petitioner’s request and permitted amendment of the petition.
Thereafter, Sarvankar’s interim application was mentioned where he sought to stay the proceedings contending that the Thackeray-led faction had suppressed the facts pertaining to the dispute between the two Shiv Sena factions as to which is the real Shiv Sena that is pending before the Supreme Court and ECI.
In his application Sarvankar has stated that he is an elected representative of the area where the rally is proposed to be held and if HC passes the order favouring the Thackeray-led faction it will cause prejudice to him and the Shinde faction.
After hearing his application, the bench permitted Sarvankar to intervene in the petition, saying that the matters would be heard on Friday.