The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to grant permission for a marathon scheduled later this month, if the organisers pay Rs 1.5 crore, part of the fee demanded by the civic body, by Monday. The court said the BMC should grant permission if Procam International, the organiser, pays Rs 1.5 crore — Rs 79 lakh towards land rent and Rs 26 lakh as security deposit — by Monday.
A bench led by Justice A S Oka also directed BMC to consider the request made by Procam International to put up some stalls for serving water and energy drinks. Procam International had approached the High Court in September alleging that BMC was demanding exorbitant fees for the marathon scheduled for January 21. It had sought that the court direct the BMC not to withhold permission and approval citing pending dues. The petition sought permission to hold the one-day event and put up advertising and hoardings for the event in the city for about a week, between January 15 and 21.
Procam International claimed that while last year it paid just about Rs 26 lakh to BMC for a similar event, this year, BMC had directed it to pay Rs 3.66 crore towards “land fees, fees for displaying ads and hoardings, and security deposit”. “While we want permissions for just seven days, the BMC is charging us for the entire month. We are merely trying to organise sports events for the public but the BMC is saying it has a share in our revenues,” the petitioner said.
BMC’s counsel Ram Apte argued that it was a regular practice for BMC to charge for the entire month, irrespective of the duration of event. “We have agreed to grant them permission for the event and for ads and hoardings subject to the condition that they pay us all the fees,” Apte said.
The court has directed BMC to submit its resolutions for granting permission, charging fees etc. for the event. Procam International did not wish to comment on the matter.