Mumbai News : The state, however, assured the court that measures were put in place to curb the menace and special drives were initiated to address the issues.
After being informed of a news report claiming that the municipal commissioner allegedly asked officers to refrain from removing hoardings bearing the photo of chief minister Eknath Shinde, the Bombay high court directed the intervenor to put the same on record so that it may seek a response from the concerned authorities.
The intervenor further pointed out that though the HC had passed numerous orders to curb the illegal hoarding menace across the city and other parts of the state in the past three months, individuals kept putting up hoardings at the behest of political parties, especially during the festive season. The state, however, assured the court that measures were put in place to curb the menace and special drives were initiated to address the issues.
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Makarand Karnik while hearing the suo motu public interest litigation against the illegal hoardings and the failure of civic and state authorities to curb the same was informed by advocate Manoj Shirsat for the intervenor that with the commencement of the festive season, illegal hoardings had been put up.
Shirsat also referred to a news report wherein BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal allegedly restrained his officers from removing congratulatory banners put up for chief minister Eknath Shinde and said that such an approach by the authorities was defeating the purpose of the PIL.
Advocate Uday Warunjikar for a petitioner, who filed a contempt petition against some persons for putting up illegal hoardings in Satara despite a court order restraining political parties from allowing members to do so, submitted that until the state put in place a proper strategy and system, political parties would continue violating the HC orders.
Another advocate submitted that even on Friday during the Janmashtami celebrations, numerous political parties had posted illegal banners and posters pertaining to the dahi handis organised by them in a clear violation of the HC order.
However, additional government pleader Bhupesh Samant for the state informed the bench that a multi-pronged approach had been adopted and certain suggestions were also mooted to curb the illegal hoarding menace. He submitted that a drive had been undertaken between August 5-13 and thousands of banners had been removed and some persons responsible for putting them up had been booked as well. He also submitted a report prepared by a judicial officer which enumerated details of the drive and measures being adopted to stop illegal hoardings.
He further submitted that the state was also in the process of implementing some suggestions like creating an application with real-time information on illegal hoardings to enable the police and civic officials to take action immediately, outsourcing the work of removing illegal hoardings and empowering the police and civic officials to impose instant fines on persons putting up illegal hoardings.