Bombay HC orders BMC to remove illegal hoardings, act against offenders

Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to forthwith remove illegal hoardings, banners and advertisements and initiate criminal proceedings against the offenders.

“The civic body will have to undertake the drive from this evening (Thursday) itself to remove all such illegal hoardings before the elections,” Justice A.S. Oka said.

BMC, India’s biggest and richest civic body, is going to polls on February 21, along with other major municipal corporations across the state.

The court’s directions came in a public interest litigation filed by NGO Janhit Manch, which complained how illegal posters, banners and hoardings had defaced public and private properties and violated existing rules and laws.

“All posters, banners, hoardings, skysigns and advertisements, put up by the (political) parties and their members, without permission and licence and duration period (mentioned) on them, shall be removed forthwith by the civic body before the elections on February 21,” the court said.

Last month, while hearing another petition on a similar issues, the High Court directed the Election Commission to lay down conditions for political parties at the time of their registration that they will not defile public or private properties as per the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act and other similar laws.

As campaigning peaked, hundreds of big and small posters, banners, hoardings and skysigns, put up by virtually all political parties and individual candidates or their supporters, were visible in the metropolis and its suburbs. These will now be removed.