The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to inform by July 8 whether it is willing to extend the deadline for the shops to put up sign boards in Marathi.
A division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and MG Sewlikar granted three days’ time to the corporation to inform its decision while hearing a petition by Indian Hotel and Restaurants Association (AHAR) seeking additional six months’ time to put up sign boards in Marathi.
AHAR had approached the HC recently after the passing of the May 31 deadline for the shops and establishments to display their names in Marathi in the Devanagiri script as well. AHAR’s petition, filed through advocate Vishal Thadani sought additional six months’ time to put up the same saying that the prices for getting the new sign boards have “skyrocketed” due to a shortage of manufacturers.
An amendment to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017, which mandated that all shops and establishments shall display signboard of their names in Marathi in Devanagari script, the font of which shall be the same as that of the other script and not smaller. The government had set the deadline for the same to be May 31, failing which prosecution will be initiated.
During the hearing on Tuesday, advocates for the BMC sought a week’s time to take instructions from the concerned officers.
Thadani prayed that the court grant protections from prosecution till then.
However, the judges granted three days to the BMC to inform its decision and kept AHAR’s petition for hearing on July 8.
Thadani further said that they are not challenging the validity of the amendment but are only seeking an extension of time for compliance.
A similar petition has been filed by the Federation of Retail Traders before the Supreme Court seeking an extension of time.