To ascertain how many illegal and hazardous hoardings continue to remain in Panchkula,Ambala and other districts of Haryana despite court directions,Justice Rajesh Bindal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has appointed 11 local commissioners.
All lawyers,the local commissioners will submit reports about various districts within two weeks.
The directions have been passed after contractors,who have their hoardings installed in various districts of Haryana,moved the High Court. They alleged that in the garb of High Court orders,the Haryana government was removing the hoardings which had valid permission from the state authorities.
The contractors alleged that in order to show compliance with court orders,the government authorities were removing hoardings which had been installed after obtaining tenders,and were not removing the illegal and hazardous hoardings.
The contractors had moved the High Court in response to a contempt petition filed by a resident of Panchkula. In its contempt petition filed in 2011,the petitioner had sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the Haryana government for not removing the illegal hoardings. The petitioner had referred to a judgment passed by the High Court in 1998. The High Court had directed Punjab,Haryana and Chandigarh to remove the illegal hoardings and those which were hazardous to the free flow of traffic.
After the matter had reached the Supreme Court,directions were issued and bylaws were framed by the states defining what size and kind of hoardings would be allowed on the roads and inner roads. A decision was taken that no hoardings would be allowed on the highways. The bylaws were framed in 2008.
In pursuance of the contempt petition,the High Court had impleaded municipal corporations and committees of Haryana,including those of Panchkula,Ambala,Kaithal,Hisar and Gurgaon. Counsel for the contractors contended that they (contractors) had obtained legal contract through tender process as per the byelaws of 2008 and guidelines of 2010 by Haryana.
Referring to rules and High Court directions,the counsel for contractors submitted that under the garb and threat of the contempt petition,Haryana was removing their hoardings which were not illegal. It was said that the Haryana government was not providing alternative sites in spite of the orders passed by the court in their cases.
To ensure that illegal hoardings were removed and those with permission were not touched,the High Court appointed local commissioners. They would be paid Rs 15,000 to 25,000 by the contractors,who have agreed to bear the expenditure.
Appointing local commissioners,Justice Bindal said that comfortable vehicles for their (local commissioners) travel and other facilities required be provided by the petitioners to the area concerned.
The order further reads that representatives of the contractor companies shall accompany the local commissioners and point out wherever the violations are still existing. They will also provide logistics for taking photographs etc.