Today was a sad day for Music in the City, Our Petition to Free Rang Bhavan which was to be heard by a bench made up of The Chief Justice Mr. D Bhandari & Justice D Chandrachud could not be heard as The BEAG( Bombay Environmental Action Group ) Lawyer Mr. Shyam Diwan Barged in and ‘Intervened’. This means that he told the judge that he was an Interested Party and wanted to have his say and was opposing our petition .He told the court that allowing Rang Bhavan to continue would be an injustice to the citizens of Bombay as it was a source of Noise Pollution ! He was loud & extremely aggressive and he badgered the Bench to postpone the hearing till Monday next week. When the Chief Justice told him very nicely that he would Dissappoint a lot of Youngsters and it was only 2 days that this Festival was for and that he should give his consent, he refused! Our Lawyer Mr. Haresh Jagtiani was not even given a chance to put forward our case. I was appalled at this travesty of justice whereby a plaintiff (meb ) could not make his case and have his day in Court !
This was very Duplicitous of Mr. Diwan as when I had approached him & Ms. Sumera Abdulali (His Client of BEAG) at his chambers 4 weeks ago to see if this matter could be sorted out amicably, he was very nice and apologetic and told me that Rang Bhavan had become the unwitting victim of his original petition to enforce Silent Zones in Bombay. He had said to me in front of 6 existing people that he was sad to see Rang Bhavan stopped as he had bee there for many concerts and he personally thought that it was not a disturbance , and he thus suggested a Loophole in the Noise Pollution Act for me to use & file a case in the HC. He suggested to us that Since Rang Bhavan was an Auditorium; The Act said that Enclosed Auditoriums were exempt from getting Loudspeaker Licenses and thus Rang Bhavan was exempt. I even pointed out to him that Rang Bhavan was enclosed on the perimeter but open on the top , to which he countered that I should get a sympathetic judge to ‘stretch’ the definition of the word ‘enclosed’.
Thus to see him today Fighting against us so vociferously was a shock & complete turnaround! It is sad that misguided people like him & the BEAG are hell bent on shutting down this Institution called Rang Bhavan because they have extreme beliefs & are assuaging their own egos by seeking personal publicity through their mindless crusading against the only Amphitheatre in our beloved City!
To gauge the public opinion on this issue we started an online petition 2 days ago and we are the 2nd most active petition worldwide : http://www.PetitionOnline.com/F789789/petition.html We have received more than 1700 signatures in 2 days and are still counting . Many celebrities like Farhan Akhtar , Shekhar Kapur , Saif Ali Khan , Rahul Khanna , Amir Khan , Samir Karnik , Pritish Nandy , Nikhil Advani ,Ehsaan Noorani etc. have signed it online .
Once again thanks to this postponement in the hearing Date we are now forced to postpone INDEPENDENCE ROCK 19 by one more week to the 28th & 29th of AUG 2004. We have to do this postponement as in case we prevail on Monday in Court it will be impossible to stage the vent in 6 days time and complete the Govt. Licensing Formalities!
One thing I can Solemnly promise is that Win OR Loose for Rang Bhavan , The Concert will definitely staged on the 28th & 29th of AUGUST 2004 ! there will be no more postponements. I would also like to thank all my sponsors – Seagram’s Royal Stag , Pepsi , Pepe Jeans , B4U Music , GO92.5, & Midday who have patiently supported me and have been a great strength !
In the meantime more people should get on to the link above and sign up!
Keep Rocking !
Farhad K. Wadia