No more Ramlila on Parade Grounds, find new site: Delhi High Court

no more ramlila on parade grounds

The bench has held that the “tradition” could not be allowed to violate legal provisions.

The decades-old tradition of holding huge Ramlila celebrations at the Parade Grounds opposite the Red Fort will no longer be permitted, with the Delhi High Court directing the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to allot an alternate site to the organisers.

The bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice S Muralidhar, in its order issued on Wednesday, held that the celebrations were blocking the multilevel parking facilities at the Parade Grounds, in violation of the Delhi Master Plan.

“Use of public parking areas, especially multilevel parking plots and surface areas attached to them for any other purpose, is impermissible. In these circumstances, the court cannot hold that the right to profess and practice religion or hold cultural festivities on such areas trumps over such legal prohibition,” said the court. The orders were issued on a plea filed by the Dharmic Ramlila Committee, which organises the Ramlila at the Parade Grounds, to be allowed to hold the event. The committee, in its arguments, had claimed that the Ramlila only used the surface parking area, and access to the underground levels of the parking lot was blocked only for the three final days of the 10-day celebrations, due to security arrangements for the President and PM who traditionally attend the last day of the event.

The committee had also claimed that since it had been using the ground for over 57 years to organise the Ramlila, “Ramlila celebrations organised at the Parade Ground is synonymous with the committee in the public mind.”

Last year, the bench had initiated contempt of court proceedings against the NDMC commissioner for allowing the Ramlila to block the entrance to the underground levels of the multilevel parking lot at the Parade Ground, despite court orders directing that the parking cannot be blocked.

The bench has held that the “tradition” could not be allowed to violate legal provisions.