The Congress party has moved the Bombay High Court seeking direction to the state government to grant permission for the party’s rally at the Shivaji Park on December 28. Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to address the rally. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had earlier hinted that permission might not be given for the rally. He told reporters last week that authorities will have to think about it if the Omicron variant spreads. While the Congress has sought permission for the rally from the state government, it is yet to receive a reply.
Mumbai Congress president Bhai Jagtap said in his plea filed in the HC that an application was submitted to the state government in October 2021, seeking permission to hold the rally but no decision has been taken till date. Jagtap urged the HC to direct the state government to grant permission to hold the public meeting and erect a temporary stage for the purpose. The court is likely to take up the matter today.
The Congress MLC has sought permission to use the Shivaji Park ground from December 22 to December 28 for the purpose of holding a public meeting on the occasion of the 137th Foundation Day of the Indian National Congress. The petition further said that it would adhere to all the norms prescribed by the civic authority and the health department.
The HC had in 2010 declared the Shivaji Park area located in Dadar as a silence zone after a public interest litigation was filed by an NGO. The court had then said programmes can be held at the park only on select occasions – December 6 (death anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar), May 1 (Maharashtra foundation day) and January 26 (Republic Day), reported PTI.
However, the state government and the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) later carved out 45 days in a year to permit non-sporting activities at the iconic ground.