Look into illegal hoardings: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High court, while giving a judgment on illegal hoardings in the state yesterday, said that political parties were responsible most of the time for them. The court also directed the election commission to impose conditions on political parties at the time of their registration, so that they do not indulge in defacement of properties. The court has also asked the state to form a committee to review the removal of illegal hoardings regularly.'

A bench of justices Abhay Oka and Amjad Sayyed was dictating a judgment on illegal hoardings, banners, and posters on a petition filed by Janhit Manch. The court has also directed the state government to look into moving the state legislature for amendment to increase the penalty or punishment for those who put up illegal hoardings. The court said the Municipal Law (Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act 1949) attracts very minimum punishment or penalty.

Form committee
The bench also directed the state government to form a committee in a month's time. It should have secretaries from the Urban Development Department and the Home department. It should take reviews from all municipal corporations and zilla parishads in the state about the removal of illegal hoardings on quarterly basis.

The court has also directed the Director General of Police to provide police protection to municipal officials on the duty of removing illegal hoardings. The court has also directed the police to register an offence immediately if they see an illegal hoarding. The court said that if a municipal officer approaches police with a complaint under defacement act, it should be immediately registered.

Formulate policy
Justice Oka also asked the police commissioner to direct the night staff to be alert for someone putting up illegal hoardings. The court has also asked the state to formulate a policy within three months on sky-signs and advertisements. It should be sent to all municipal corporations and should also look into distraction to motorists because of hoardings.

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