The municipal corporation cannot penalise shopkeepers who do not display the names of their establishments in Devanagari script as the stay on the implementation of Marathi signboards continues.
The Bombay High Court on Friday clarified this to the Federation of Retail Trader’s Welfare Association a week after the civic corporation issued a fresh notification.
The association had challenged the constitutional validity of the amendment to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act, 2001, which says the establishment’s name in Devanagari script must be in a bigger font than in English or any other language.
In 2001, the HC had admitted the petition and restrained the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from imposing fines on shopkeepers breaking the amended rule during the pendency of the petition.
But last week, the BMC issued a new notification asking the shopkeepers to implement the earlier rule and the association raised the issue in the court on Friday.
Last year, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had initiated a violent agitation in the city demanding all signboards be in bold letters in Devanagari script.
The association had then filed a separate application in the HC, pointing out that as per the 2001 stay, the rule can not be enforced for the time being.
The court had subsequently restrained MNS chief Raj Thackeray from making inflammatory speeches over the issue.
But when the application came up for hearing in January, the HC inadvertently disposed of the main petition too.
The division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice DY Chandrachud clarified that the “original petition of 2001 is still alive, and the stay to implementation of the rule also remains”.