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Illegal Hoardings Row: Political parties cannot be de-registered for defacing public properties, says EC

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Mumbai: No political parties can be de-registered for putting up illegal hoardings in the state, the election commission (EC) told the Bombay High Court on Friday. The commission has also said it has taken several precautions time and again for ensuring political parties do not display illegal hoardings and deface public properties. The commission made these submissions through an affidavit filed before a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Mahesh Sonak.

The affidavit filed by the Joint Chief Electoral Officer, Election Commission of India stated that the body has time and again issued several instructions and guidelines to all the political parties, to ensure they do not “deface” public properties. During the course of the hearing, the counsel appearing for the commission submitted, “The commission cannot de-register any political party for defacing public properties by putting up illegal hoardings. If done so, there will be far reaching consequences.”

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The submission was made in response to the directions issued by a bench led by Justice Oka in a detailed judgment in January 2017, asking the commission to take appropriate action against political parties, displaying illegal hoardings. The affidavit further states that the commission has advised parties not to use plastic in their campaign material like banners, flags etc. “The parties have been advised to make use of eco-friendly material to promote themselves. Further, a condition has been imposed upon parties to remove and dispose the plastic made materials at their costs.”


Meanwhile, the Shirdi Municipal Council drew the bench’s attention that there is some “discrepency” in the data produced before the court by the government, on a last date of hearing. The government had then claimed that there was not a single illegal hoarding in Shirdi city. On the contrary, the council informed there were indeed several cases of illegal hoardings and it was acting against them. Subsequently, the bench was informed that there were nearly 14000 illegal hoardings reported in the neighbouring Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) and about 7000 in Aurangabad city. Taking note of the same, the bench has sought an explanation from the civic bodies for not initiating proper action against illegal hoardings in their jurisdictions.