Delhi HC halts Ramleela bookings pending new guidelines

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ordered the suspension of further offline and online bookings for Ramleela functions on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) grounds until new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or guidelines are established by the authority.

Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju has directed the DDA to formulate comprehensive SOPs within five weeks, with a deadline no later than June 25.

The court’s directive also mandates the DDA to publicise the new guidelines once formulated.

The court order states: “In the meantime, no online/offline bookings of Respondent No.1/DDA ground/open spaces for Ramleela functions shall be undertaken by the Respondent No.1/DDA, till the new SOPs guidelines for booking of Ramleela Sites is published by the Respondent No.1/DDA.”

This decision comes in response to a plea by the Hanumant Dharmik Ramleela Committee, which called for the establishment of clear guidelines and SOPs to resolve disputes regarding permissions for organising Ramleela functions.

The plea also requested the appointment of an independent body to replace the Delhi Dharmik Mahasangh.

Despite the DDA presenting its policy aimed at streamlining the temporary allotment of open spaces and community halls for various functions, the court noted that the policy did not address a “list” prepared by the Delhi Dharmik Mahasangh or the necessity for booking Ramleela sites to comply with orders from other authorities.

The court stressed the need for clear guidelines to prevent future disputes, citing issues that arose in 2023 when bookings were made subject to documents submitted by a third-party organisation.

Acknowledging the parties’ concerns about delays in Ramleela site bookings, the court urged the DDA to adhere strictly to the timeline outlined in the order.