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SC allows Social Functions in 'Sisodia Rani ka Bagh', an Archaeological Monument in Forest Area, reverses NGT order

The SC on May 11, 2020 {THE DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND MUSEUMS, JAIPUR & ANR. v. ASHISH GAUTAM & ORS.} held that the “Sisodia Rani ka Bagh” (for short, ‘the Monument’), situated at Jhalana, Jaipur, State of Rajasthan may be used for appropriate multi­purpose activities between 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. only. It was directed that no activity to be permitted after 8.00 P.M. It was further held by the SC that the use of laser lights, loud music, and fireworks is ordered to be completely restrained and directed that Musical and other fountains to be maintained and to be kept in working order.

The SC Bench, comprising of Justice Arun Mishra & Justice S. Ravindra Bhat held that at present, the Monument is an archaeological monument and was being used for earning the revenue by organising various functions. It was held that in the process, it was also maintained. It was observed that the Monument is adjacent to Jaipur­ Agra   highway,   it   has   historical   importance   and   is   entirely enclosed by a pakka structure.   It was held that it does not disturb the forest area though the   Monument may be recorded   as forest.   It was held that it would   not be appropriate   to   permit   the   use   of   the   Monument   to   hold   various functions during the night after 8.00 P.M. It was held that the tourist timings are 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. It was held that during that time, considering the importance of the historical Monument and it is in encircled structure by wall and its potentiality there cannot be any objection for its being used for multipurpose appropriate activities. It was further held that at the same time, there is in place a noise restriction, the same has to be strictly observed.

In the present case, by way of impugned judgment and order, the NGT held that the Monument is part of the forest area and directed that no permission should be granted to organise social functions like marriages,   etc.   and   for   the   use   of   fireworks,   loud   music   in   the Monument, which was assailed before the SC.

The SC held, however,   the   blanket   ban   imposed   by   the Tribunal   was   not   called   for   as   area   can   be   used   for   appropriate functions and for holding events to attract tourists. It was held that no inconvenience is going to be caused in the area considering the situation of Monument. It was further held that in the writ petition itself, a prayer was made pertaining to the safety and security of wildlife and not to allow laser lights, loud music and fireworks.  In view of that, the blanket ban imposed by NGT was legally not sustainable, and it was set aside by the SC.

The SC accordingly modified the order of the Tribunal.   The appeal was allowed in part by the SC.

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