HC to BMC: Say no to political hoardings

Don’t give political parties permission to put up hoardings wishing their leaders on their birthdays or announcing the inauguration of a project, the Bombay high court suggested to the municipal corporation.

Rapping the corporation for inaction and parties for defacing the city with their hoardings, a division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Amjad Sayed asked the corporation to inform the court by February 10 about the proposed action against these illegal hoardings.

“Don’t give permissions to put up such big hoardings wishing political leaders on their birthdays. Do leaders think that by looking at such hoardings people will vote for them?” asked Justice Majmudar.

Janhit Manch, an NGO, had filed a petition in March 2010 seeking prosecution of civic officers and political leaders for putting up illegal hoardings and defacing the city’s skyline.

Among the respondents are Congress MP Priya Dutt, Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee president Kripashankar Singh, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, MNS leader Raj Thackeray and his party MLA Bala Nandgaokar and BJP MLA Gopal Shetty.

The petition claims that parties put up huge hoardings displaying photographs and names of almost every politician of any stature without proper permission of the licensing authority — the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Seeking strict implementation of the BMC Act and the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, the petition suggested that every ward officer should be made accountable for violations.

“All persons who displayed illegal advertisements should be prosecuted for violation of the provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, and be imposed fines of Rs 2,000 each or imprisonment for three months or both as stipulated or as the court deem fit,” added the petition.

The PIL also suggested that the penal provisions for violations of the BMC Act, 1888, be revised and the fine amount, which currently ranges from Rs 50 to Rs 100 irrespective of the size of the hoarding, be increased to deter parties from putting up illegal hoardings.


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