All civic bodies across the state will have to organise a special drive to remove illegal banners, posters, hoardings and other such material starting immediately and until 10 days after the assembly election results, according to a Bombay high court directive on Tuesday.
A division bench of justice AS Oka and justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a PIL filed by Suswarajya Foundation, on such illegal banners in the state.
“On account of the Vidhan Sabha elections, there is the possibility a large number of illegal hoardings, banners etc. will be erected throughout the state,” the bench said. “Even after the declaration of results, there is bound to be a sudden increase in the erection of illegal [materials]. We propose to issue directions to all corporations and councils to enable them to gear up to deal with such illegal activities.”
The court said it would issue directions on recovering expenses for removing the hoardings and repairing the roads if necessary, at the next hearing.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for the MNS tendered two undertakings from party chief Raj Thackeray and MLA Bala Nandgaonkar, assuring the court they would instruct workers to refrain from putting up illegal material.
Further, when government pleader G Shashtri informed the court that since the last order (August 6), three police cases had been registered under the defacement laws in the Mumbai city collectorate region, the court said, “Illegal hoardings are in the thousands, but only three cases are registered?”.
At an earlier hearing, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had said it had removed 8,619 illegal materials until June 30, of which political parties had put up 5,654.
The court has directed all civic bodies to establish a system for registering complaints through a complaint number and to maintain a registry of complaints made and action taken on those complaints. They will have to file a comprehensive affidavit by November 10, on details of action taken when an offence is made out.
The matter will next be heard on November 24.