Declare Shivaji Park a silence zone: court to civic body

Shivaji Park

Shivaji Park, a popular spot for political rallies and cultural events, could soon be a lot quieter with the Bombay High Court directing the state government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take steps and declare it a "silence zone".

In an interim order given by a division bench of Justice FI Rebello and Justice Amjad Sayed on Wednesday, the court has also restrained the local police from providing a No Objection Certificate for the use of loudspeakers at night during functions at Shivaji Park.

The order came in response to a PIL filed by the city- based NGO Wecom trust and two citizens Ashok Ravat and Sharad Dixit. The petitioners had moved the court in 2009 seeking Shivaji Park and its vicinity to be declared as silence zones as per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Act, 2000.

The PIL stated since there were several educational institutes/ religious structures/ hospitals within the radius of 100 metres, Shivaji Park should be declared as silence zone. It further stated that although Shivaji Park has been declared a 'Kridasthan' (playground or open ground), it is very often given out for holding 'non-sports' activities like festivals, political rallies and on several occasions also for car parking. The Rules further state that loudspeakers can not be allowed in the silence zones. Besides, the noise level should not exceed 50 decibels during the day time and 45 decibels during the night.

However, Municipal commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya filed an affidavit stating that "considering the huge area of Shivaji Park every alternate building is having private primary nursery school. It is almost impracticable to declare areas with 100 metres around educational institutions and religious places as silence zones."  

"Nursery is not a school. It is a place where children come and play with toys," the affidavit stated.

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