HC asks Heritage panel to decide on use of Kasturchand Park for expo, ‘Ravan dahan’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Aug 2017 10:38:12


Legal Correspondent,

Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo have asked the writ petitioner – Expo India, and intervenor – applicant Sanatan Dharma Sabha to make a representation to the Heritage Committee on its prayers for permitting petitioner, to organise exhibition at Kasturchand Park (KP) and allow the Sanatan Dharma Sabha to have its annual program of ‘Ravan dahan , respectively. On representations being made, the High Court expects the said committee to
decide regarding the use of the ground for these purposes in four weeks.

Through an affidavit by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) it has been explained to the Court that being a “park” KP ground can be used for recreational purposes, but nature of uses has not been decided upon, anytime. To solve this issue, the Court has, while hearing the suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) based on the news-report titled “Iconic Kasturchand Park, from cynosure to eyesore” published in The Hitavada on April 6, 2017, which had highlighted plight of the iconic Kasturchand Park, a Grade-I heritage site, and its blatant commercial exploitation, decided to peruse the “Will” of the donor Daga family to understand the purpose underlying its donation. The Court has directed the State Government to produce before it, the said agreement/Will in next three weeks.

The High Court had directed NMC to remove all encroachments in and around the ground and had directed police to step-up vigil to prevent anti-social elements from misusing sprawling premses for illegal activities.

During the course of hearing, the Court also came to know that a committee headed by the Guardian Minister has been appointed by the State Government to process a comprehensive plan for developing and beautifying the KP ground and its surroundings. The plan is under consideration of the committee related to beautification of the historic Kasturchand Park and to protect and promote its proper use and to prevent its misuse.

The PIL has also highlighted the pathetic condition of the ground due to its crass commercialisation. Though designs have been invited for its beautification and preserving its heritage status, precious little has been done.

The amicus curiae, Shreerang Bhandarkar also annexed photographs depicting painful journey of Kasturchand Park and urged the High Court to completely ban commercial use of ground and protect it from further vandalisation.

Advocate S P Bhandarkar appeared as amicus curiae in the case. Advocate Mohan Sudame represented the petitioner , Expo India. Advocates Jemini Kasat (City Corporation and the Heritage Committee) Additional GP Deepak Thakare (State) and Ajay Ghare (intervenor-applicant) held the brief for the respondents.