Defacement of property: DC cracks the whip, asks police to book violators

  • Vivek Gupta, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Sep 26, 2015 22:42 IST
Defacement galore on a PRTC workshop wall in Patiala on Saturday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

Acting tough against the defacement of public property in the city, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam on Friday issued directions to the police to lodge first information reports (FIRs) under Section 3 of the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997, against the violators.

FIRs will be registered against persons and organisations found writing on walls or putting up illegal posters, banners and hoardings on government buildings and public property in the city.

However, residents are sceptical about the latest directions as the authorities have failed to stop defacement of public property despite numerous orders in the past. The number of FIRs lodged and prosecution under the defacement of property act, which attracts imprisonment up to six months, is the lowest in the state, it is learnt.

Notwithstanding strict laws against defacement of public places, graffiti, posters and banners of political parties, organisations and private companies can be seen on government and private buildings, along roads and walls across the city.

Problems galore in urban estate

A mammoth entrance gate that greets the visitors here is covered with illegal posters of educational institutes or student organisations. The intersections, electricity polls and the outer walls of private residents are dotted with graffiti and posters here.

Several areas of the city, including the bus stand and the railway station, are also dotted with illegal posters and banners, giving the city an ugly look. The outer walls of the Mata Kaushalya Hospital, PRTC workshop have been painted with advertisements.

Road signs covered with posters

Most of the road and traffic signboards in the city are covered with posters. The flyovers in the city are also dotted with illegal graffiti, hoardings, posters and banners. The walls of government schools are no exception.

Member of district road safety committee HPS Lamba said: “We removed all illegal posters and hoardings following the deputy commissioner’s orders a year ago. But things are back to square one as the official who was given charge to implement the DC orders failed to take action.”

The latest orders should be implemented in true spirit. “Chandigarh is one of the best examples of cleanliness. The difference is the implementation. Rules are same everywhere,” he added.

A city resident, Davinder Kumar, said: “Lack of will to implement orders is a big problem in the city. On most occasions, the police fail to take action against the violators due to political pressure. The DC’s initiative will bring no real change in the absence of strict implementation.”

Will ensure strict implementation : DC

“I will see to it that the orders are implemented and strict action is taken against the violators. To start with, we will remove all illegal hoardings and posters along the city roads by engaging non-governmental organisations. I have directed the police to keep a vigil, especially at night, and book the violators immediately,” the DC said.

He said the administration would also ask the printing press in the district to stop printing illegal posters. “They will also be booked if they don’t stop printing the illegal material,” the DC added.

Penal action

As per the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997, nobody can deface public or private property by pasting posters, writing on the walls, wall paintings or putting up banners without the prior written permission from the owner of the property concerned. The violations under the act are cognizable and punishable with imprisonment for a term extending up to six months or a fine up to Rs 1,000 or both.

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