No rave party, court orders even take-over of Paradiso de Anjuna

| 24 December 1999 23:01 IST

Following government decision not to allow Jeh Wadia's 10-day long non-stop rave party yesterday, the high court today took one step ahead by imposing total restraint on even occupying the Paradiso de Anjuna restaurant in Anjuna.

After exposing all sorts of illegalities carried out by business tycoon Nusli Wadia's son through local daily Gomantak Times, journalist Peter D'Souza had filed a public interest litigation. While granting him the interim relief by stopping the proposed rave party, the court also stopped them from occupying government-owned restaurant there.

Wadia, the event manager of the millennium bash, was expecting around 25,000 raves from all over the World and the event was to be telecast by V channel. Several companies including Coca Cola, Bacardi and UB had sponsored the mega-bash.

As the court hearing would resume from January after the winter vacation, the local bench of Bombay high court comprising of Justice R K Batta and Justice R M S Khandeparkar also directed the government to file a compliance report regarding demolition of the illegal structures built their and taking over the beachside restaurant.

Accepting the contention of D'Souza's lawyer Vishnuprasad Lawande, the high court observed that neither Wadia nor Norman Azavedo, the restaurant contractor, had sought any permission to occupy over 80,000 sq mts of government and communidade land or to hold the musical event for 10 days.

"There is no permission sought from the tourism department, excise department, collectorate, police or the sales tax department", observed the judges. As the organisers failed to produce a single valid document, the court also observed that they were illegally occupying the beachside land and hillock belonging to the government and the local communidade.

While also admitting the fact that the construction on the land in the form of fencing, steps, toilets, walls, tunnels and terracing of the ground for the dancing floors was in total violation of the coastal zone regulations, the court has instructed the government to take necessary steps to keep the land free of any such activity.

S S Keshkamat, the tourism director, later told the journalists that he would immediately move a file to demolish all the illegal structures while the police as well as the excise department would be immediately told to stop any activity at Paradiso de Anjuna.

During the hearing, the court realised that even the beachside restaurant does not have a valid liquor licence and its lease contract had also expired in September. While the state government was planning to retain it with Azavedo, the court has now ordered not to allow him to occupy it.

Though the court did not go into the contention of Mahesh Jethmalani, Wadia's counsel, that it was not a rave party but a festival, the division bench said question of allowing even a mere dance there does not arise as nothing is legal in the whole affair. Arguments over whether use of drugs and loud techno music is necessary for a rave party would be taken up during the hearing later.

Though Jethmalani had assured the court to produce contents of their website www.anjuna.com while disowning what the petitioner had produced as the website material, he failed to produce it even today. Only a brochure in this regard was produced. The website in the meanwhile has disappeared from the INTERNET.

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