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In cases where the photographs of the Prime Minister and state Chief Minister appear on hoardings without mentioning the name of the individual who has put it up , the local office-bearers of the political party can be prosecuted by the municipal corporations, the Bombay High Court said on Monday.
Justices A S Oka and A S Gadkari said that it was pointed out to them by municipal authorities that banners displaying photographs of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister did not have names of those putting up the banners in most cases.
“Their contention is that in such cases, they cannot set the criminal law in motion. But the names of political parties are given in such cases and can be used to set the the law in motion by prosecuting the local office-bearer,” the HC said.
The court also advised the political parties to issue circulars to their local party units on the lines of the circular issued by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to all the party units across the state.
“The circular states that the office-bearers should take permission before putting up hoardings or banners and should mention the permission number also,” said Ranjeet Pawar, the lawyer appearing for MNS. The advocate representing BJP stated that they would also look into issuing a similar circular.
The court was hearing a set of public interest litigations (PILs) that sought removal of illegal hoarding, banners and arches, in which advocate Uday Warunjikar was appearing for one of the petitioners.
According to earlier orders of the court, all municipal corporations and municipal councils of the state were supposed to file affidavits giving details of the action taken in the removal of illegal hoardings, banners, posters.
“We direct that the municipal corporation to act upon anonymous complaints. This system will not work unless they constitute the citizens committee and start awareness programmes,” the court further said.