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Mumbai: Most shops across city ready with Marathi signboards

Updated on: 25 November,2023 07:57 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale |

Association says won’t pursue matter anymore as deadline draws near

Mumbai: Most shops across city ready with Marathi signboards

A Marathi signboard being installed at a shop. File pic

The action against shopkeepers not displaying Marathi signboards will start from Tuesday, but unlike the last time, most of the shops have already changed their boards and the shopkeepers’ association is not going to challenge the action in the Supreme Court.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will resume action against shops which still do not adhere to the law of displaying their names in Marathi from November 28. The action against such shops was stopped in November 2022 after a Supreme Court (SC) order stayed it. But on September 25, 2023, the SC gave two months for compliance with the Marathi signboard norm.

Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) said, “Over 80 per cent of the shops have already changed or started changing the boards. There is an issue of waiting periods due to a shortage of signboard makers. Even the changing of boards required a huge cost.” The SC had given the next hearing date in the first week of December. But the shopkeepers’ association is not pursuing the matter anymore. Shah added that the government or BMC should now look into the matter. The FRTWA, in a note circulated to shopkeepers, said that the shops, offices, and establishments that haven’t changed the nameplate—where Marathi lettering font size should not be smaller than any other language and should be first—must do it immediately before the deadline.

A BMC official said that as the period given for compliance with the Marathi signboard norm is over, there will be no more extensions. The Act mandates a R2,000 fine per shop staffer for violation. There is a compounding provision under the Act wherein the BMC can fine the shops and settle the matter if the shops display boards in Marathi without filing court cases.

According to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) (Amendment) Act, 2022, all shops in the state must display Marathi signboards in the Devanagari script. In case there are multiple languages, the Devanagari font is not to be smaller than the others. The Act was implemented in the state from May 2022. The BMC extended the deadline to comply with the Act thrice—to May 31, June 30 and September 30, 2022. The civic body thereafter gave another 10 days time to shopkeepers to put up the signboards before starting to issue 7-day notices.

According to BMC’s estimates, 20 per cent of the shops in the city have not yet complied with the law. Civic officials visited over 28,653 shops, which is around 5 per cent of the total number of shops in the city, and served notices to 5,217. The FRTWA challenged the constitutionality of the amendment and requested a stay on BMC action. The SC ordered a stay on BMC action in the first week of November 2022.

Nov 28
Day BMC will start fining shop owners

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