Friday, May 30, 2014
GURGAON: The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon to allow the original team of NGOs and citizens' groups associated with Raahgiri Day to organize the weekly event without "insisting on deposit of any advertisement fee/charges or prior approval".
The instruction was issued by a special division bench of justices Surya Kant and Ajay Tewari in open court last week as an aside to an ongoing PIL hearing, after the main petitioner in the case, Navdeep Asija, brought up the matter of Raahgiri Day and the MCG's recent move to take on the role of the event's organizer.
The interim order issued by the high court, a copy of which is with TOI, states: "We direct the Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon, to permit the NGOs, namely, 'Peddal Yatri', 'India Cycle Service', 'EMBARQ India', 'I am Gurgaon' and 'Road Safety Officers', to organize 'Raahgiri' programme in Gurgaon on Sundays without insisting them for the deposit of any advertisement fee/charges or prior approval."
"I drew the court's attention to the show-cause notice issued by the MCG on May 5, 2014, to the Raahgiri Day organizers. The bench said that the MCG has been directed to support Raahgiri Day, and also to provide all the approvals and necessary support required to the organizers," Navdeep Aseeja told TOI.
The MCG's show-cause notice effectively withdrew organizing rights from the core group of Raahgiri Day associates, although it was addressed only to EMBARQ India. The notice stated that "prior permissions" are mandatory to obtain "if any advertisement has to be put up" around the venues, and that it was also deemed necessary for the organizers to deposit an "appropriate government fee with the Municipal Corporation". The notice concluded by instructing the addressee to "not organize this event till further intimation by the district authorities in the matter".
According to Asija's counsel, advocate A P S Shergill, the high court's new directive virtually gives the green light to the original organizers to continue running the event as before on the community-initiative model, which was reportedly lauded by the bench. "The honourable bench said that the NGOs which started this event should be allowed to organize it without any interference from the district authorities," said Shergill.
The MCG commissioner, Praveen Kumar, said on Thursday evening that he was yet to see the official order. "I have not seen the exact order, and won't be able to comment on that. Let me get some clarification on this first," Kumar told TOI. He said that the original team of organizers would be allowed to play a part in putting together Raahgiri Day, as per the directive of the high court. "They will certainly be included in this event. But they will not be the sole runners of the show, as was the case in the past. Their inclusion doesn't have to come at the cost of the exclusion of the government agencies," Kumar said.
at 8:31 AM