The Bombay High Court Friday observed that “prima facie there had been deliberate and wilful breach” of noise pollution norms during the Gudi Padwa function organised by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) at Shivaji Park and issued a contempt notice to MNS leader Nitin Sardesai who had sought permission for the function.
Additional government pleaders Hiten Venegaonkar and Purnima Kantharia informed the court that a showcause notice had been issued by the police to Sardesai for violating noise pollution rules, despite assuring not to. The HC said, “Since the showcause notice has been issued, appropriate action will be taken without being influenced by the court’s orders.” The government said it was yet to receive a reply to the showcause notice.
“The panchnama submitted shows decibel levels went beyond the prescribed level at various locations around Shivaji Park.If the decibel levels at 4 pm on April 7 is compared with the decibel levels at 4 pm on April 8, we find there was substantial increase,” said the HC. The maximum sound level allowed in a silent zone is 50 dB.
“It is noted that at 5:40 pm on April 8, the decibel level recorded at the footpath near Raja Bade Chowk Gate was 114.6. At 5:49 pm, the decibel level recorded near Minatai Thackeray statue footpath was 101.8. It was 98.1 dB at 6:29 pm near Shivaji Park Gymkhana Gate, “ said the HC, referring to the decibel levels recorded by the police.
Appearing for MNS, V A Thorat, however, pointed out that even without use of equipment, the noise levels around Shivaji Park had been more than the prescribed levels. “There was only marginal increase in the decibel level which averages 60dB and this is not violation of an extreme nature,” said Thorat.
The court, however, pointed out that in its undertaking, the party had agreed to adhere to all conditions for holding a function in a silence zone. “The permission records that it is a silence zone. The party was given an undertaking to maintain sound levels,” said the court, pointing out that the violation was also due to use of instruments. The organisers did not install the distributed sound system which creates lesser sound than loudpeakers and was supposed to be used in the function.
Wecom, a trust of residents around Shivaji Park, had moved the Bombay High Court against the use of loudspeakers in the function.
The trust has claimed that although the BMC had granted MNS permission to hold the rally, the park fell within a silence zone and permission for use of loudspeakers should not have been granted by the police.