COMING down heavily on the state government, the Bombay High Court Friday said there was “no implementation at all” of its directions on removing illegal hoardings by the municipal councils in the state. Calling it “gross default” on the part of government officials, the court said the state government was not “helpless” when it came to taking action.
A bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon issued notices to all municipal councils warning them to comply with the order or face action. “State is not helpless. Both affidavits accord great default on the part of the government officials,” observed the court.
On Friday, the court was dealing with the execution of its directions by the municipal councils across the state. “State has all the powers..Powers can be invoked at any time by the state. Action will be taken under the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act 1965 and the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act if non-compliance is noted,” the court further observed.
While issuing notices, the court said that all municipal councils were under obligation to implement provisions of law. The Court has asked for a report on compliance by February 27, 2015.
The HC had, in August 2014, ordered appointment of nodal officers by municipal corporations and councils in the state to prevent mushrooming of illegal political hoardings.
In September last year, the court had directed all municipal bodies to carry out special drives for removal of illegal political banners, posters and hoardings.
The HC had then directed the Urban Development Department secretary to nominate officers not below the rank of deputy secretaries to act as nodal officers to keep a track of illegal hoardings.
All municipal bodies were asked to maintain a register of anonymous complaints received on a toll-free number and through SMSs.
Uday Warunjikar, appearing for one of the petitioners, informed the court there was compliance in some cases but overall assessment reflected a grim picture.