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HC refuses MNS to hold Marathi Food Festival

Mumbai: In a setback for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Bombay High Court today refused to grant permission to the Raj Thackeray-led party to conduct a `Marathi Food Festival` from May 3-10 at Shivaji Park here.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar while refusing relief observed that if permission is granted then the ground would not be available for sports activities.

MNS had moved the high court challenging an order passed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) refusing to grant permission to conduct the festival at Shivaji Park on the grounds that it is a `silence zone`.

The corporation had, pursuant to High Court orders of 2005 in a petition filed by NGO Wecom Trust, declared Shivaji Park as a silence zone, where use of loudspeakers is prohibited.

The court accepted the arguments put forth by BMC and Wecom Trust that if permission was granted then it would create "nuisance" and result in damage to the ground.

"If permission is granted to one political party then it would open floodgate of such applications by other parties seeking permission. Food is not permitted inside the ground then how can permission be given to cook food inside," the NGO`s lawyer argued.

Earlier, in February this year also, the High Court had refused to grant permission to MNS to hold a public meeting at Shivaji Park. The MNS in its application, before the court had said the food festival to be held from May 3-10 from 7-10 pm, was part of Maharashtra Day celebrations.

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