A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking directions to authorities to prevent the ‘commercial exploitation’ of Late Pramod Mahajan Sports Complex in Kandivali (West) for events including the one by singer Falguni Pathak, who is known for her performances during Navratri, to be held from September 26 to October 5.
The plea also sought direction to the state government to provide free entry to the public for all such events at the playground.
Vinayak Yasvant Sanap, a journalist and social activist, last week filed a PIL through advocate Mayur Faria, stating that the venue concerned is earmarked as ‘playground’ in the Development Plan by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The plea said Sanap came to know from media reports and booking platforms about the application by the organisers, Big Tree Entertainment Pvt Ltd, for hosting Navratri Utsav with Falguni Pathak for 10 days on the said playground and that ticket prices for the event range from Rs 800 to Rs 4,200.
“The Playground should always remain open for the Public at large and should not be exploited commercially by any third party. In case if it is used for any other purpose than its original purpose and in present case, if it is used for musical event/Navratri Utsav then the said Playground should be kept open for Public at large and at free of cost,” the plea said.
It added that the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court had laid down guidelines for the use of playgrounds, however, the same are not being followed and the permission for commercial events is being given by authorities in a discriminatory manner causing inconvenience to the public at large.
“The said playground is closed to the public at large during such events hosted by third parties and such third parties, in turn, monetize through such events at the cost of the public without there being any transparency. Therefore, the PIL against its commercial exploitation,” Sanap said.
He alleged that the deputy director of Sports and Youth Services (Mumbai Division) is “completely biased” and favoured the organisers by giving away the playground for the event without calling for any public auction of tenders.
The Court is likely to hear the PIL on September 21.