The Bombay High Court on Thursday permitted the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) to conduct their 9-day long art and cultural festival at Cross Maidan, Mumbai, after the association assured the Court that it would not set up refreshment and commercial stalls at the Maidan..The association was asked to give a written undertaking to this effect as well. This pre-condition was imposed in view of objections that such stalls cannot be set up at the Cross Maidan as it is a playground. Justices RD Dhanuka and MM Sathaye passed the order on a petition filed by a public trust, Organization for Verdant Ambience and Land (OVAL) in 2017 challenging a government resolution transferring the authority to maintain the Cross Maidan from the Collector to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). As an interim relief, the High Court had earlier restrained the Mumbai Collector from allotting the Cross Maidan to any third party without the prior permission of the Court, given that it was a playground as per the development plan of the city. .The Kala Ghoda festival is generally conducted at several places across Mumbai city, one of the spots being Cross Maidan. In 2018, KGA had approached the High Court seeking leave to use the Cross Maidan premises to display art and set up refreshment stalls during the festival period.The Court had permitted the Collector to allot the premises to conduct the festival only after getting an undertaking from KGA that it will not set up food stalls, and not conduct any commercial activity. Any musical event was also directed to be kept open for citizens free of cost. The Court further ordered, in its 2018 order:“It is obvious that hereafter the State government cannot entertain the applications made by the third party applicants in a casual manner and cannot grant permission contrary to the law laid down by Supreme Court.".In view of this order, KGA again approached the High Court in December 2022 seeking permission to set up visual arts events, performances and refreshment stalls at the Cross Maidan during the period of festival from February 4 to 12, 2023. .KGA stated that the festival was a not-for-profit enterprise with the objective of offering a space for art. It claimed to charge a nominal fee to entities to set up stalls. Entry into the festival was free of cost, the Court was told. KGA also apprised the Court that it was in the process of obtaining permissions from civic authorities, police authorities and the Collector. .During the hearing today, Senior Advocate Navroz Seervai, appearing for OVAL, opposed the grant of permission for setting up stalls on the ground that it was a playground. The Court clarified that it would grant permission only if KGA gives an undertaking to not erect commercial or other refreshment stalls. Subject to this pre-condition, KGA was granted permission to display art on the maidan during the festival period..Advocate Siddhi Doshi with Advocate Ria Lulla instructed by ALMT Legal appeared for KGA.Senior Advocate Navroz Seervai, and advocates Shreya Parikh, Shrey Shah and Subit Chakrabarti represented OVAL.