HC halts CIDCO’s proposed removal of illegal hoardings from ‘NAINA’ area | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

HC halts CIDCO’s proposed removal of illegal hoardings from ‘NAINA’ area

BySahyaja MS
May 28, 2024 06:38 AM IST

Bombay HC halts CIDCO's removal of hoardings in Navi Mumbai until new policy established. Advertisers challenge notices post Ghatkopar incident. Court to hear on May 30.

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court directed the City and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (CIDCO) on Monday to halt the proposed removal of hoardings in the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) until the next hearing. This directive is pending the establishment of a policy and objective criteria for assessing the associated risks. It comes after CIDCO issued notices on May 22 to remove several illegal hoardings, following the incident in Ghatkopar.

HT Image
HT Image

A vacation bench, comprising Justice NR Borkar and Justice Somasekhar Sundaresan, emphasised that any further actions regarding the hoardings should await the new policy framework. The court’s intervention was prompted by petitions from Devangi Outdoor Advertising and Harmesh Dilip Tanna, proprietor of Gargee Graphics. The advertising agencies challenged CIDCO’s notices, which demanded the removal of numerous hoardings within 24 hours, labelling the notices as arbitrary and unlawful.

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The urgency in CIDCO’s actions followed a catastrophic event on May 13th in Ghatkopar, where a massive billboard collapsed onto a busy petrol pump, resulting in 17 fatalities and injuring approximately 74 others. In response, CIDCO issued multiple notices to advertisers, including the petitioners, to prevent similar accidents.

The petitioners, who operate hoardings overlooking highways and expressways, argued that they had obtained the necessary permissions from authorities. Nonetheless, they were issued notices to dismantle their hoardings within 24 hours or face prosecution under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966. The notices also warned that non-compliance would result in the authorities dismantling the hoardings and recovering the costs from the petitioners.

The petitioners contend that the notices are illegal for several reasons as they lack specific measurements of the hoardings, fail to clarify whether the structures are temporary or permanent, and do not include sketches or detailed descriptions. Furthermore, the petitioners argue that the notices were issued without a show-cause notice, violating principles of natural justice.

While acknowledging the severity of the Ghatkopar incident, the petitioners asserted that it does not justify indiscriminate actions against all advertisers without verifying the structural stability of their hoardings. They claim that CIDCO’s actions are arbitrary and illegal. The court is set to hear all matters related to CIDCO’s notices on May 30.

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