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Chandigarh MC slaps fine: Prompt action against AAP, but Congress, BJP have it easy

Bylaw violations: Chandigarh MC fines AAP for holding political function at community centre, but yet to act against BJP for its hoardings on city roads.

punjab Updated: May 18, 2018 13:44 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh MC,AAP,Congress
On April 8, BJP’s Punjab wing had put up banners and flags across the city to welcome its newly elected state unit president Shwait Malik. This is in violation of the Advertisement Control Order, 1954. But, a month later, no action has been taken against the party. (HT File)

Two weeks after Aam Aadmi Party ((AAP) organised its political function illegally at a community centre in Sector 37, the municipal corporation has imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on the party. The fine imposed has been taken in the form of security, which has now been forfeited.

On May 5, the civic body had stopped AAP’s function at a community centre after getting complaints of political activity being conducted. As per MC bylaws, no religious or political function can be organised at community centres. The party had taken permission stating that it was hosting a lunch party, however, senior AAP leader and Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia reportedly addressed the gathering there, which amounted to political activity. The party had also reportedly put up banners outside and inside the centre and used loudspeakers without permission.

Speaking to HT, Surinder Sharma, MC’s officer on special duty, said, we have forfeited their security amount of Rs 15,000 in the form of fine.

No action against Congress, BJP

Though the MC was quick to take action against AAP, it failed to take action against both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party for putting up banners and hoardings across the city without permission.

On April 8, the Punjab wing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had put up banners and flags across the city to welcome Shwet Malik, who had come to the BJP headquarters in Sector 37 to assume office as the new state party president.

As soon as the municipal corporation received information regarding the same, an enforcement team removed the illegal flags and banners, which were in violation of the Advertisement Control Order, 1954. It has been over a month since the incident, but no notice has been sent to the party.

In 2016, the party was slapped with a fine of Rs 1.8 crore for putting up illegal hoardings and banners in Sector 37, but the UT municipal corporation did not take any action against the party.

In May, 2017 too, during BJP national president Amit Shah’s visit to the city, BJP’s local unit had put up around 40 illegal hoardings, banners and flags in Sectors 48, 47, 45/46 and 33 yet the party was not sent any notice.

The Congress has been let off too. On September 16, 2015, the then MC commissioner Bhawana Garg had issued a notice to Punjab Youth Congress to deposit Rs 67 lakh for using the civic body land to display posters and banners without permission. The Youth Congress had put up illegal hoardings and banners at the Sectors 15/16 roundabout and the road dividing Sectors 11 and 25. Now, the case has been referred to the UT estate officer for recovery under the Land Arrears Act. In violation of the Advertisement Control Order,1954, party workers put up five hoardings, 69 flags; fine amount yet to be calculated.

On asking why no action was taken against the Congress and the BJP, Surinder Sharma, MC’s officer on special duty, said, “I have recently joined the office, but will look into it.”

First Published: May 18, 2018 13:43 IST