Pointing out the violation of a Bombay high court (HC) order that bans display of banners in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has written to the Mumbai police about nearly a 100 banners and posters that it displays every Sunday on the Bandra to Santacruz stretch on SV Road and Linking Road.
Residents have complained about the advertisements and banners on almost every street pole on Sundays displayed illegally as part of events organised under the Equal Streets Movement.
The assistant municipal commissioner of H-West ward sent letters to the respective police stations and the deputy commissioner of police (Zone 9) on December 19, 20 and 22 on the matter after it noticed that the logos of Mumbai police had been used on the banners.
“It is pertinent to note that no permission has been granted by this office to display any form of advertisement during the event,” stated the letter. “Kindly intimate to this office that permission, if any, granted by your office to display advertisement as the policy of granting permission to display banners and boards is discontinued by the BMC according to the direction received from the high court.”
The letter was procured in response to a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Aftab Siddique, chairperson, 33rd Road Khar Advanced Locality Management (ALM).
Ten local citizens' organisations including 33rd Road Khar ALM visited the additional commissioner of police (west region) on Thursday demanding that the events be shifted to another location.
“The highhandedness of the police is completely unacceptable. Traffic on the by lanes is blocked owing to the event,” said Siddique, adding that the BMC did not produce a traffic feasibility and a no-objection certificate from the Mumbai fire brigade obtained by the organisers, which she had sought in her RTI application.
While Vijay Kamble, assistant commissioner of H West ward did not respond to a call and text message sent by HT, Dattatray Bhargude, senior inspector, Khar police station, said, “Permissions for the events have been given by our head office [police commissioner’s office]. We are only following the orders.”
Satyanarayan Chaudhary, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 9) denied that his office had received letter from the BMC.
"We are not here to do illegal things. Posters are put up to spread awareness on issues. If there is any wrongdoing, the government agencies will take action,” said Ashoke Pandit, filmmaker and one of the organisers.