Illegal hoardings in Mumbai: HC notice to BJP, MNS, NCP leaders

Expressing shock and displeasure over the display of illegal hoardings across the city despite court orders and undertakings by political parties, the Bombay High Court today issued notice to five persons, including BJP leader Ashish Shelar and MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon directed the five persons to file their replies by May 7 as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. Apart from Shelar and Raj Thackeray, the court also issued show cause notice to MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar, BJP's Mukund Kulkarni and NCP's Shivaji Ghajre.

The notices were issued as they had in September 2014 submitted undertakings to the court that neither they nor any of their party workers would put up any hoarding or banner without permission from requisite authorities.

The undertakings were filed when the court was hearing a public interest litigation by NGO Suswarajya Foundation which had sought removal of all illegal banners and hoardings. In September last year, the court had directed a crackdown. It subsequently sought the response of political parties. BJP, MNS and NCP came forward and undertook not to allow or encourage party workers to put up illegal hoardings and banners, to cooperate and not cause obstruction to their removal.

"We are shocked to see that despite having submitted an undertaking, political parties and leaders are still indulging in display of illegal hoardings and banners. In one instance, a poster has been displayed without permission from the civic body by the state government's Women and Child Welfare department. This is shocking," Justice Oka said.

The court has directed the Secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department to ascertain which officer was behind display of the poster and submit to the court on the next hearing action taken against the errant officer.

The court was also informed that civic body officials are not able to take action against such illegal hoardings as they are displayed by ruling political parties.

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