The Bombay High Court on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over steps taken by municipal corporations, municipal councils and the Maharashtra government against illegal hoardings across the state. After giving a last chance to the authorities to comply, the court said contempt action would be initiated against violators.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by NGO, Janhit Manch, alleging that political parties and their members put up illegal hoardings, banners and posters across the state. The government, meanwhile, filed a civil application seeking extension in the matter, especially related to submission of a final policy relating to hoardings. The court, however, refused to entertain the application stating no real compliance had been shown. “You will first have to show bonafide in terms of implementation of our orders,” it said.
After extensive court orders in the matter, it had sought formation of a committee to monitor the matter of action against illegal hoardings. “What has the committee done? It has been formed 10 months ago,” questioned Justice A S Oka. The government pleader, Manish Pabale, said the committee had been submitting quarterly reports. The court said: “All it has done is compiled data. We expected something more.”
The bench also took note of the fact that only three municipal corporations — Mumbai, Nashik and Amravati — submitted compliance reports. Appearing for the petitioner, Uday Warunjikar, said illegal hoardings were visible across the state. The court then referred to the state’s move to make certain cities Smart Cities. “It is not difficult for the state to admit that there is defacement across all cities, despite law laid down against the same,” said Justice Oka. “We are not satisfied with the action taken … By way of last chance, we grant time to all authorities to show compliance. If the same is not done, we will initiate action under Contempt of Court Act,” said the bench. Ens