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High Court cracks whip on hoardings, asks for removal

Observing that the law prohibiting and punishing the defacing of public roads was quite clear but its implementation left much to be desired, the Bombay High Court directed all the municipal corporations in Maharashtra to remove illegal hoardings, banners and posters by March 21.

The division bench of Justices SJ Vazifdar and BP Colabawala was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations on the issue of illegal hoardings of political parties and others.

Advocate Uday Warunjikar, petitioners’ lawyer, pointed out a March 15, 2013 order of another bench of the High Court which had asked for removal of illegal hoardings in 48 hours. “Corporations submitted compliance report that all illegal hoardings have been removed. But today the situation is back to the square one and is likely to worsen with elections coming up,” Warunjikar argued.

To this, Justice Vazifdar said, “If these political leaders and MLAs and MLCs themselves say no to such hoardings this issue will be solved. The law is clear that no illegal hoardings should be put up but implementation is the problem.” Asking all the municipal corporations to crack down on illegal hoardings, banners and posters, the court sought affidavits specifying the steps taken by civic bodies to comply with its March 2013 order.

The affidavits would also state action taken with respect to each complaint received by the corporations. The affidavits and the compliance reports are to be filed by March 21.

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