Illegal banners and hoardings by political parties: Bombay HC calls for independent report on non-compliance of its orders

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik also asked the government, civic bodies and petitioners to suggest what deterrent actions can be taken and directions passed against members of political parties erecting such structures

Staff ReporterUpdated: Thursday, June 16, 2022, 10:59 PM IST
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Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to give an independent report on steps taken against non-compliance of illegal banners, hoardings, posters, arches and advertisements observing that it was an “alarming situation”.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik also asked the government, civic bodies and petitioners to suggest what deterrent actions can be taken and directions passed against members of political parties erecting such structures.

The HC has asked the government to file an affidavit through police and collectors by June 30 on action taken in pursuant to its 2017 order.

The slew of directions were passed while hearing various petitions, including a suo moto (on its own) contempt petition initiated by the HC, for non-compliance of earlier orders asking the authorities to pull down illegal hoardings. The court had also remarked that the political parties are flouting its order every day and defacing public places.

BMC counsel contended that while several letters seeking FIRs for illegal hoardings were sent to the police by the civic body, they were filed in very few cases. Of the 1,399 letters sent by the BMC in 2019, only 205 FIRs were registered in Mumbai. Moreover, in 2020 of the 866 letters, FIRs were filed in 94 cases whereas in 2021, of the 943 letters, FIRs were filed in merely 18 cases. This year, nearly 535 letters have been sent of which only 11 have resulted in the filing of FIRs.

To this, CJ Datta remarked: “This is an alarming situation. We want an independent compliance report by the state in various directions of the HC. It should also include the actions or consequences against the concerned for not responding to the HC directions.” The court further added: “We want to know in how many cases, the constables on their own gave complaints about illegal hoardings etc… Unless we stop the activities at the source, our directions will just remain on paper.”

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