The Bombay High Court has held that any political leader, whose picture appears on an illegal hoarding or a banner, can be prosecuted.
If leaders, who are "eulogised" by party workers, are prosecuted for the hoardings that mar the city landscape, it
would act as very effective deterrent, Aurangabad bench of the High Court said in the judgement last week.
The division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S S Shinde was hearing a PIL filed by an Aurangabad resident Sunil
Jadhav, who had sought action against hoardings in city's Kranti Chowk.
During the hearing, the Municipal Corporation lawyer had argued that often the hoardings do not bear the name of
the person who had put it up, so prosecuting the culprit becomes difficult.
"In addition, the person, whose picture has been prominently displayed, either to felicitate him on his
success, welcoming his arrival in the city or for his birthday, that person may also be liable to be proceeded by
the Competent Authority," the court said.
"That is so because, such posters are published and circulated by the workers at the behest of such political
leaders to eulogise them," the court observed.
Further, the court said, "there ought to be presumption of abetment in allowing one's photograph to be
If the leaders figuring on hoarding were prosecuted, "every political leader would ensure that all their supporters
and workers are unambiguously advised and instructed to forbear and refrain from indulging in display of such illegal
hoarding/poster/banner, which causes immense public nuisance and also raises environmental issues."
The court also noted that under Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, "defacement of public
property" can cover putting up illegal hoarding too, and for which, offender can be sentenced to three months' jail term,
along with fine of Rs 2000.
"We cannot be oblivious of the fact that the city of Aurangabad is acclaimed world over as a historical place and a
tourist city. It is, therefore, imperative that there should be zero tolerance level regarding the display of illegal
hoardings...It is an eyesore to the viewers," the judges said.