The Bombay High Court today rejected its
petition for direction to Maharashtra government for allotting MMRDA ground for
free or at concessional rates for Anna Hazare's fast, saying it cannot come to
the conclusion if the agitation was in public interest or politically
The court was hearing a petition filed by Jagrut Nagrik Manch, affiliated to Anna Hazare's India Against Corruption, seeking direction to government to allot the MMRDA ground in suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex either for free or at a concessional rate.
A division bench of justices P B Majmudar and Mridula Bhatkar refused to interfere in the matter saying HC can't allow "parallel canvassing" when Parliament is seized with debate on Lokpal Bill and questioned its decision of public debate being permissible at this stage. The court further said "It is not judicable. If we pass an order allowing your petition then even we will be interfering with the functioning of Parliament.”
Justice Majmudar disapproving of the agitation asked, "Under which law are you (petitioner) asking for exemption? It might be Satyagraha for you but for some other factions it might be a nuisance.”
The court also said it cannot direct the government to open the gates to the enclosed area in Azad Maidan, another probable venue for the proposed 3-day fast from December 27, to allow Team Anna larger space for the protest. "It cannot be said that the petitioners have undertaken a national event for the MMRDA to exempt them from rent for the ground," Justice Majmudar said.
The court said another ground for rejecting the plea was that the petitioner was not a registered social organisation, a mandatory requirement for seeking concession from MMRDA. And hence the MMRDA cannot be compelled to give venue or provide concession to them for their three-day protest fast for a strong Lokpal Bill from December 27.