The Bombay High Court today dismissed a petition filed by three members of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction seeking permission to hold their annual 'Diwali Pahat', a musical programme, in Maharashtra's Thane district.

A Division Bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice Kamal Khata said the plea was "devoid of merits" and hence dismissed.

The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has given permission to members of another group which is part of the Sena camp led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to hold this programme at the same location in the city neighbouring Mumbai.

The petition, filed by Mandar Vichare, Sudhir Belose and Janak Sanghvi through their Anand Charitable Trust, challenged an October 13 order of the TMC granting permission to the Shinde faction for erecting a pandal and stage in Thane, after a preliminary permission was granted to the petitioners on October 10.

"The impugned order is ex-facie illegal and abuse of process of law, nullity, void, against the principles of equity and natural justice, a gross abuse of the powers and jurisdiction, a gross misuse of the process of law, arbitrary and unlawful," the petition said.

It claimed the permission to the other faction was granted surreptitiously.

The petitioners said they were getting permission to organise 'Diwali Pahat' at the location in question since 2016-17, therefore they had every right to do it at the same place because a large number of Thane residents attend it.

They also claimed that the TMC was acting at the behest of the ruling Sena faction of Shinde and the BJP.

The entire exercise done by the authorities is completely motivated to harass the petitioners and out of political rivalry, the plea said.

The other group members who were granted permission told the HC that they have been conducting the musical event for the last 10 years and the permission they had received was in their individual capacity.

TMC's counsel Ram Apte, meanwhile, pointed out that as per provisions of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, the application for conducting the programme was required to be submitted 30 days prior to the event.

The permission would then be considered once the requisite no objection certificates (NOCs) received from fire, traffic and police departments are submitted.

Apte told the court that the persons who have been granted permission applied on September 19 and their application included NOCs from all the departments concerned.

The Thackeray faction members had applied on October 3 and their application included only one NOC, the TMC's counsel said.

The High Court bench after perusing all the documents submitted before it said it does not find any malafide on the TMC's part while granting permission (to the other group) and dismissed the petition.

With PTI inputs