No weddings & events in Jaipur’s Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh after 8:00 PM; SC partially upholds NGT’s order

Supreme Court: The bench of Arun Mishra and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that not be appropriate to permit the use of Jaipur’s famous Sisodia Rani ka Bagh to hold various functions during the night after 8.00 P.M.

The historical Monument, which is situated at the outskirts of Jaipur in forest area, was built in the year 1728 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. It was declared as a protected Monument on 1.5.2012 by Department of Archaeology and Museums of Rajasthan and work for restoration, as per principles of conservation, was started. During the last five years, the expenditure of approximately Rs.170 lacs has been incurred on conservation, restoration, and development of Mahal and Garden. Around 100 tourists visit the Monument every day. The visitor timings are from 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M.  The fountain inside the Garden and the dynamic coloured lights highlighting the elements of the Mahal are operated from 6.00 P.M. to 8.00 P.M. The monument was also used for earning the revenue by organising various functions.

On 5.11.2014, the National Green Tribunal, Central Zonal, Bhopal 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.

Aggrieved by the said order, it was argued before the Supreme Court that putting a blanket ban upon holding of ceremonies in the Monument, situated adjacent to the city. The prohibition imposed shall adversely affect State tourism and would render the entire Monument of no use, and its upkeep would be difficult.

The Court, agreeing with the said argument, held that 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. No inconvenience is going to be caused in the area considering the situation of Monument.

The Court noticed that the Monument is adjacent to Jaipur-­Agra highway, it has historical importance and is entirely enclosed by a pakka structure. It does not disturb the forest area though the Monument may be recorded as forest. It, hence, held,

“It would not be appropriate to permit the use of the Monument to hold various functions during the night after 8.00 P.M. The tourist timings are 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. 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. At the same time, there is in place a noise restriction, the same has to be strictly observed.”

The Court, hence, directed:

  • The Monument may be used for appropriate multi­purpose activities between 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. only. No activity to be permitted after 8.00 P.M.
  • The use of laser lights, loud music, and fireworks is ordered to be completely restrained.
  • Musical and other fountains to be maintained and to be kept in working order.
  • Other conditions imposed by the Department be observed strictly.
  • Requisite supervisory and other staff/gardeners, etc. be dedicated to maintain and look after the area.
  • A Consultant be appointed for further beautification of the area and requisite horticultural development and an additional project plan be prepared and placed on record.

[Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Jaipur v. Ashish Gautam, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 452 , decided on 11.05.2020]

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