The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to ensure that all illegal posters, hoardings, banners and sky signs in the state are removed by February 23. Last year, the court had directed that the above exercise be completed by January this year, but granted an extension to the state today, following a request by the latter. A bench of justices Abhay Oka and A A Sayed gave a set of 21 directions to municipal corporations and municipal ward officers. It also directed the Commissioner of Police to provide two armed constables to the municipal officers of every ward in the city on a daily basis. These constables will accompany municipal teams at the ward level everyday in order to remove illegal hoardings. The bench has also directed that an officer of the rank of police superintendent ensure that officers and beat marshals, who are entrusted with night patrolling, keep a constant vigil and register FIRs against illegal posters, hoardings and sky signs. “It should not be difficult for the state to admit that there exists defacement of walls, public properties etc. despite the fact that a clear law exists against the same.
“No genuine effort has been made by the state. By way of a last chance, we grant all authorities concerned time till February 23 this year,” the bench said. The state government was also directed by the court to appoint a two-member committee comprising senior officials from the Urban Development department to monitor the work of removing illegal posters, banners and hoardings.
“If proper action is not taken, we will be forced to initiate contempt proceedings against the state’s officials,” it said.