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High Court stays order on Dadar Parsee Gymkhana

The Bombay high court on Monday interimly stayed an order passed by the Lokayukta which restrained the Dadar Parsee Colony Gymkhana from letting out its ground for social functions and marriages.

By Rosy Sequeira, TNN

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R M Savant was hearing a petition filed by the gymkhana trustees challenging the Lokayukta’s May 2, 2011 order that the ground should not be used for any purposes other than sports. Last year, Jyotibhaskar Salgaonkar, who lives adjacent to the ground, lodged a complaint saying that the functions "cause nuisance to people residing in the vicinity." Justice Majmudar asked the trustees: "Are you playing music? You should not cause nuisance."

In July 1937, BMC leased the land to the trustees. Clause 12 of the lease deed states the ground cannot be used for any other purposes without consent of the BMC except as a playground.

The petition states that over the years, the trustees have taken permission from the BMC to give the ground on hire for marriages, festivals and social functions. "This is the main source of income for the gymkhana and the membership fees can be subsidized because of this income," the trustees added. The petition stated that directions were passed without hearing the gymkhana. They only learnt of the Lokayukta’s order when the BMC issued a notice to it.

Gymkhana’s counsel Firoz Bharucha said that the Lokayukta has no power or jurisdiction to pass such directions. The judges stayed the order and directed issue of notices to all respondents, including the state government and the Lokayukta. The matter is adjourned to October 17.

A complaint was made to the Lokayukta last year by Jyotibhaskar Salgaonkar, who lives adjacent to the ground Complaint to the Lokayukta was made last year by Jyotibhaskar Salgaonkar who lives adjacent to the ground saying functions cause nuisance to people residing in the vicinity.” Are you playing music? You should not cause nuisance,”said Justice Majmudar.

According to Gympkhana’s petition, it began in January 1, 1937 from a tent. In July 1937 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation leased the ground to the trustee. Clause 12 of the lease deed said ground cannot be used for any other purpose except as a playground without consent of the permission. Gymkhana’s petition said membership is open only to Parsee/Iranian Zoroastrians since its inception and its yearly subscription is minimal.

The petition states over the years, the trustees they have taken permission from BMC to give the ground on hire for marriages, festivals and social functions. This is the main source of income of the Gymkhana and only because such income its membership fees can be subsidised, it adds. The petition said directions were passed without hearing the Gymkhana. Only when BMC on June 3, 2011 BMC issued a notice to it, they learnt of the Lokayukta’s order which was annexed with it.

Gymkhana’s counsel Firoz Bharucha said the Lokayukta had no power or jurisdiction to pass such directions. The judges staying the order, directed issue of notices to all respondents including the State government and the Lokayukta. The matter is adjourned to October 17, 2011.