On 11.05,2020, the Supreme Court ordered the removal of the blanket ban on conducting any event in the Sisodia Rani ka Bagh. The National Green Tribunal, Central Zone, Bhopal had earlier banned the conduction of event in 2014.
Facts of the Case
The “Sisodia Rani ka Bagh” is a Historical Monument. The monument was used for ceremonial purposes like marriage. Subsequently, in 2012, the Department of Art, Literature, Culture, and Archaeology declared it as a ‘protected monument’. Thus, supervision was transferred from the Rajasthan General Development Department to the Department of Archaeological and Museums. Later, on 7.6.2012, the Department issued a notification. It contained restrictions on the conduct of the ceremonies.
Aggrieved thereby, the respondents filed a writ petition in the Rajasthan High Court. The High Court of Rajasthan transferred the matter to the NGT. The petition was for the restrain imposed on the use of the monument for ceremonial purposes. However, the Tribunal declared the monument is part of the forest area. Further, it denied permission for organizing any special functions. It also denied permission for the use of fireworks, loud music in the Monument. Implidely, there is a blanket ban on the usage of the monument.
Therefore, the appeal has been filed before the Supreme Court against the order of the Tribunal.
Arguments of the Appellant
The counsel for the appellants argued that a blanket ban on ceremonies in the monument was not justified. He submitted the following reasons:
Prohibition would adversely affect the state’s tourism. It would render the monument useless affecting its upkeep. Further, the location of the monument was ideal for holding such ceremonies. The monument’s history of holding such ceremonies attracted tourists. Moreover, it earned significant revenue for the state’s exchequer in the process.
The original application only asked for restrictions that would avoid disturbance to wildlife. Further, specific guidelines were already in place. Hence, more restrictions could be issued instead of a blanket ban.
Arguments of the Respondents
The respondent no.1- Ashish Gautam filed a writ before the High Court of Rajasthan. This Public Interest Litigation asked the Court to issue directions to protect wildlife in the area. Since this is a reserve forest area, it asked for restrictions on the use of laser lights, loud music, and fireworks in the monument.
He supported the order of the Tribunal, arguing that the restrained activities were not allowed in the forest area. Further, it was listed with the Forest Department. He stated that the notification issued on 05.02.2012 declared it as a protected monument. He submitted that conservation and restoration were bound by the same.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed the following:
- The monument is open for use between 8:00 A.M to 8:00 P.M. No activity after 8:00 P.M.
- The use of laser lights, loud music, and fireworks is not allowed.
- Staff to maintain musical and other fountains in working order.
- Follow the conditions imposed by the Department.
- Appoint supervisory staff and gardeners to maintain the area.
- Further, prepare and place on record a beautification and horticulture development project.
The bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat partly allowed the appeal. They proposed to supervise the beautification process themselves. The Court directed the consultant to submit a plan within one month from the date of order.
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