Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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Remove hoardings or face dissolution: HC warns civic bodies

Pulling up municipal corporations in Maharashtra for not complying with earlier court orders on removing illegal hoardings, posters and banners exhibited by political parties, the Bombay High Court warned that it would ask the state to dissolve the civic bodies.

“It appears that only municipal corporations of Pune, Mumbai and Akola have substantially complied with the court orders on removal of hoardings, posters and banners of political parties, while the rest of the civic bodies have simply chosen to ignore it,” said a division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka while going through the affidavits.

“We are giving one last chance to the municipal corporations to comply with the court orders or else the state would be directed to dissolve them,” the bench warned.

The court was hearing a bunch of PILs alleging that political parties were putting up hoardings, posters and banners without taking permission, thereby defacing public and private properties.

In August, the bench had ordered an appointment of nodal agencies to check this practice and also asked major political parties, including Congress, Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS to give separate written undertakings assuring that they would not erect hoardings anywhere in the state without permission.

The court had also ordered that all civic bodies should have a toll-free number to enable people to register complaints against illegal hoardings.

“If a citizen finds his complaint on toll free number has not been considered by officers, he or she can approach the nodal officers,” the judges said.

The bench had also ordered formation of a committee of citizens at the ward level to keep a check on illegal hoardings and asked the local authorities to organise awareness programmes on the issue.

However, the bench today noted that the citizen’s committee had not been formed at many places and that the civic bodies had not facilitated toll free numbers and SMS service to enable people register their complaints.

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