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Sunday, September 26, 2021

State govt requests Bombay HC to allow heritage tourism in its premises

In the meeting, Thackeray, while maintaining that the HC building is a beautiful structure and an architectural marvel, had said that tourists visiting Mumbai must be allowed to visit the court.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
Updated: August 21, 2021 7:49:51 am
A British-era court room in the HC museum. (Photo: Yogesh Naik)

The state tourism department has requested the Bombay High Court to allow heritage tourism in its premises. So far, the BMC in Mumbai and the Central Railway have allowed heritage walks in their premises.

The issue was discussed in a meeting between Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Dutta last December. In the meeting, Thackeray, while maintaining that the HC building is a beautiful structure and an architectural marvel, had said that tourists visiting Mumbai must be allowed to visit the court.

As per the minutes of the meeting released last month, the CJ had welcomed the move. He had said that if a proposal is presented it would be examined by the full bench of the HC.

City historian Deepak Rao said, “If people are allowed inside by the HC, it will be a good gesture. Mumbaikars should be allowed to tour this Victorian Gothic structure. The HC has a lovely museum with degrees and certificates of Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar and M A Jinnah. These tours should be paid trips and happen only on Sundays and public holidays.’’

Abha Narain, a conservation architect who worked on the restoration of the HC building, said, “The HC is a public building and one of the finest architectural edifices of Mumbai. It is a part of the UNESCO world heritage site and it is up to the judges to decide on public tours. If guided tours are permitted, it could enhance public perception and architectural significance of the building. The terrace gives a panoramic view of the city’s skyline.”

When contacted, a PWD official said, “The MTDC is planning this initiative. One of the finest attractions can be the central courtroom where Lokmanya Tilak’s case had said ‘Swaraj is my birth right’. Besides, we have a lovely museum, which also has a courtroom from the British era.”

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