The BMC has started taking action against such violators, for fear of being reprimanded by the State EC
JAYPRAKASH S. NAIDU Mumbai
The BMC has lost up to Rs 78.15 crore in two years due to its failure to penal
ise political parties for putting up illegal banners and hoardings in the city. Following the invoking of the Election Model Code of Conduct, the BMC has, however, started taking action against such violators, for fear of being reprimanded by the State Election Commission.
Enquiries with the BMC revealed that they have never maintained records of the number of illegal banners put up by each party. This is because, BMC has never been obliged to fine the parties putting up illegal banners, as it is not mentioned in BMC alt39 policy guidelinesalt39 and so no fine is charged
from political parties till now. According to official information in 2010 and 2011, about 52, 118 illegal banners and boards put up by political parties were removed from eight of the 24 BMC administrative zones across Mumbai.
An officer from the licence department of the BMC said they could have collected a fine of Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 per banner, as fine imposed by the metropolitan magistratesalt39 courts, if the BMC had prosecuted these parties. So, the amount that BMC could have collected from only eight zones would have been between 2.60 crore to 26.05 crore. If all the 24 administrative zones are taken into consideration, the amount plausibly lost, is between Rs 7.8 crore to Rs 78.15 crore.
A crusader Bhagwanji Raiyani, campaigning against the illegal banners told FPJ, ” I have filed four PILs since 2003 and each time the court had directed the authorities concerned to implement the existing laws, but nothing much has been done and the city is still cluttered with illegal posters and banners. In my last petition, I have also alleged contempt of court by Mumbai Police Commissioners, State government and BMC. The matter will come up in March- April this year,” said Raiyani.
On the other hand, the BMC incurs heavy losses of public money running in lakh of rupees, while removing these banners.
Further, it is mentioned in the BMC guidelines that a political banner must have the number of the printer, publisher, expiry date and the licence number, but it isnalt39t so. Also, Aurangabad bench of Mumbai High Courts judgment in 2010 binding all over Maharashtra said that people in the images are also prosecutable.