BJP and NCP today submitted written undertakings to the Bombay High Court stating that they would not put up hoardings anywhere in Maharashtra without obtaining the permission of local authorities. However, the division bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, was not satisfied with the undertakings as they were not exhaustive enough.
NCP said in its affidavit that it would ask its local units not to put up illegal hoardings. But the bench said not only "local units" but its units all over the state should be given this instruction. In BJP's case, the court said the undertaking should cover all kinds of illegal banners, hoardings and posters, etc, and not just hoardings. Lawyer of Republican Party of India (Athavale group), who had appeared last time, was not present today nor did the party file the undertaking as directed by the court.
The court had asked all the major political parties to keep their representatives present for the hearing of public interest litigation filed by Su-Swaraj Foundation in this regard but only the representatives of BJP, NCP and RPI-A turned up last time. Notices had been issued to Congress, Shiv Sena, MNS and BSP four days ago but their representatives did not show up today.
Government pleader Sameer Patil said the state was ready to appoint police officers (one of them from the traffic department) to the nodal agency proposed to be appointed to keep a watch on illegal hoardings. The bench adjourned the hearing to August 1, while asking the government to file compliance report on earlier orders. On February 21 this year, another bench of the High Court had asked the municipal bodies to file compliance reports on the steps taken to remove illegal hoardings, to prosecute the culprits and to recover fines from them.
Advocate Uday Warunjikar, lawyer for the petitioner, had pointed out an order of March 15, 2013, which had directed removal of illegal hoardings within 48 hours.
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