While the common man has to pay Rs 1,000 for putting up a hoarding in the city, political parties pay a meager Rs 198 per hoarding to the civic body.
Taking note of this disparity, the Bombay high court, on Friday, asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to consider increasing the hoarding rates for political parties.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar asked the BMC to consider changing the rate while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city-based NGO Janhit Manch.
Bhagwanji Rayani, founder of the NGO, argued that while political parties are charged Rs 198 per hoarding, the common man has to pay the BMC Rs 1,000 for putting up a hoarding.
Rayani pointed out that this was his fourth PIL against hoardings that deface the city.
After hearing Rayani’s plea, justice Vazifdar remarked that the solution would be filing a contempt petition.
“File contempt against the concerned authorities. Another PIL would not be the solution,” said justice Vazifdar, adding that the issue of defacement of public properties was more important than the money [charges for hoardings].
Rayani told the court that he had also filed a contempt petition in the high court, which is pending.
Replying to the court’s query, BMC’s counsel Anil Sakhare said they have guidelines for giving permission to put up hoardings.
“There are three categories in which permissions are given — religious/public trust, commercial and political,” said Sakhare.
He pointed that the BMC has suspended a senior inspector of the license department for lapse on his part while granting permission to put up a hoarding.