The Allahabad High Court Thursday granted permission for temporary installation of a sound system at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are scheduled to attend the Ganga aarti on Saturday.
The Varanasi Development Authority (VDA), which had earlier presented an application seeking permission for installation of sound system for three ghats along the river, has been told it could only install one at Dashashwamedh Ghat, and that it will be a temporary installation meant for the December 12 programme.
The division bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Dilip Gupta ruled that the court will take up the matter of permanent installation at the ghats on the next date of hearing, January 15. It asked the VDA to come up with detailed affidavits in the matter then.
The specially-constituted bench was hearing the application, filed on Wednesday as part of the PIL of Kautilya Society by the district administration. The application sought installation of poles for setting up a world-class sound system for the Ganga aarti and for addressing the public on future occasions.
Amicus curiae Manish Goyal said: “The court has given permission for temporary installation of poles only at Dashashwamedh Ghat. The permission was sought for at least three ghats (Sheetala Ghat and Rajendra Prasad Ghat being the other two). The matter would be taken up in detail at the next hearing.”
Chief Standing Counsel Ramesh Upadhyaya said: “The proposal for setting up a world-class public address system at the Varanasi ghats by one of the most renowned world-level companies had been moved by the VDA earlier. An application was moved in the court, as there is injunction on any permanent construction within 200 metres of the highest flood plain of river Ganga. The administration wanted to have a public address system put in place in the wake of the programme involving the dignitaries. The court has granted the permission for temporary installation.”
The court has, however, emphasised that care must be taken to ensure that music is not louder than the permissible limit and that it is played only between 6 am and 10 pm as it might inconvenience locals.