'Don't Encourage ​Illegal Banners,' Bombay High Court Appeals To Public

'Don't Encourage ​Illegal Banners,' Bombay High Court Appeals To Public

Bombay HC expresses distress over hoardings and banners put up on footpaths, trees and street lights

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 11:38 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed distress over hoardings and banners put up on footpaths, trees and street lights, and appealed to the general public not to encourage such illegal acts.

Court's observations

The court noted that having regard to the nature of the problem and the manner in which these hoardings and banners are being put up covering roads and footpaths, something needs to be done, "not only at the level of the corporation and government but at the instance of the general public as well."

"This calls upon us to appeal to the general population and every individual to come alive to the situation and to not indulge in any such activities that encourages illegality and has any potential to cause harm to others,” a bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyay and Justice Arif Doctor said.

“No individual or group of individual, be it a political party or a commercial organisation or any religious group, can be legally permitted to utilise public places such as footpaths, roads and so on for their personal gains and advertisements especially keeping in view the hazards such hoardings and banners cause to the pedestrians and other users of the road,” the court noted in its order.

The judges said it is “beyond comprehension as to how any group of people can take the liberty of putting up banners on street lights”.

The contempt petition that was being heard

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed against authorities for non compliance of court orders over removal of illegal hoardings. The BMC informed the court that it had taken down a total of 10,839 political hoardings, 4,551 commercial hoardings, and 32,481 illegal hoardings.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhare said that it had sent information about 410 illegal hoardings to the police, which has resulted in registration of 22 FIRs. Sakhare said that the BMC has issued directions at the ward level to allow hoardings only for organisations with permission, tracked through QR codes.

CJ said, “You (BMC) admit so far that public roads and footpaths can’t be permitted. Just roam around and see on how many footpaths, road dividers there are banners and cutouts.” The judges said the problem is not those seeking license but those putting up without license and permission.

The bench noted that earlier almost all the political parties, who were made respondents in the PIL, had filed undertakings that they will not indulge in any such illegal activity. However, none of the parties are represented.

Consequently, the court has asked the petitioner to serve notice to the respondent political parties and kept the matter for hearing after two weeks.  

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