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Sunburn EDM: HC insists on payment of deposit of Rs 2.25 crore

Panaji: The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Friday directed the tourism director to ensure that permissions for the Sunburn EDM festival are issued “only and only if the deposit of Rs 2.25 crore is made, and not otherwise”.

Coming down heavily on the EDM organisers, the division bench of the  High Court comprising Justice M S  Sonak and Justice M  S Jawalkar said,  “The order has been made because as observed by us in our earlier orders, every time when this festival is organised, the issue of clearance of earlier dues crops up. Every time we are informed that on this occasion, some different entity is organising the festival. Prima facie, invariably, we feel, there is nexus between the previous entity and the entity which proposes to organise this festival.”

Hearing a petition filed by Trajano D’Mello related to the EDM festival,  the HC directed the organisers to deposit an amount of Rs 2.25 crore with the tourism director.

On the basis of the instructions of the newly-impleaded respondents – Earl D’Souza and Klassique Events and Artist Management LLP – Sunburn EDM’s counsel A Kakodkar stated that these respondents will deposit Rs 2.25 crore with the tourism director. The amount will include the security deposit of Rs 1.5 crore, which in any case the respondents have to make in respect of the event proposed to take place this year.

The additional amount of Rs 75 lakh is towards prima facie outstanding amount of Rs 1.38 crore of commercial taxes and payment towards police bandobast duty.

The HC observed, “If the aforesaid amounts are indeed deposited, then, and only then, the permissions granted by the state government shall take effect. The director of tourism will ensure that the permissions are acted upon only and only if the deposit of Rs 2.25 crore is made, and not otherwise.”

The HC also said, “Further, taking into consideration the plea made by the intervenor, we also direct that if the aforesaid amount is indeed deposited and the newly-impleaded respondents no.6 and 7 apply to any statutory authority for permissions, then, such applications to be disposed of within 48 hours from making of the same, no doubt, in accordance with law and on their own merits. Such an order is passed because it is pointed out by Kakodkar that the festival is scheduled to be held between December 27 and 29, 2019.

However, it is made clear that if the deposit as aforesaid is not made, even these directions for consideration of applications within 48 hours will not apply.”

There are disputes with regard to the dues pending, although there is no interim relief granted by any courts. 

The Advocate General pointed out that the government’s in-principle approval was on the basis that all dues are cleared.

The HC also ordered organiser to demolish all the structures erected so far at the event site as it was erected without obtaining mandatory NOC from the village panchayat.

The court directed the Anjuna panchayat to process NOC application for the event, only if the event site land is restored in original condition.

On an intervention application, the HC said that without accepting the averments made in the intervention application, but taking into consideration the position that the applicant is the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, it grants this application for intervention.

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