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The Bombay High Court today reserved its judgement on two public interest litigations against illegal hoardings, banners and posters.
A division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka said it would pronounce the judgement in the last week of November.
The High Court said its orders of November 26, 2015, and September 17, 2016, asking civic authorities in Maharashtra to remove illegal hoardings, would continue to operate in the meantime.
The PILs filed by Suswaraj Foundation and Janhit Manch's Bhagwanji Riyani alleged that political workers, NGOs and private organisations put up illegal hoardings, banners and posters in complete violation of civic rules all over the state, defacing private and public properties and spaces.
Riyani, arguing in person, submitted today that banners announcing a protest march led by Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray had been put up in various parts of Mumbai, and demanded action against the party and its leaders for violating the High Court's orders.
Riyani also said he was getting "threats to life" and demanded police protection. The bench asked the concerned police station to provide him protection if he applied.
Suswaraj Foundation's lawyer Uday Warunjikar said there was no awareness about the laws against defacement of public or private properties, and the government should address it.
Lawyers of Shiv Sena and BJP said their workers had been instructed not to put up illegal hoardings, and action would be taken if anybody defied this directive.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's lawyer Anil Sakhare
said the police should provide more protection to the civic body's squads which remove illegal hoardings.
The HC had, on November 26 last year, asked the municipal bodies across Maharashtra to take up a special drive against illegal hoardings, posters and banners.
On September 16, 2016, the court again ordered a month-long drive against illegal hoardings. This period ended today, so the bench ordered that the drive should continue until the final order was passed.
The BMC said in an affidavit today that it had removed 12,486 banners in the city recently, lodged 2,855 police complaints, and police had registered FIRs in 138 cases.
BMC had launched prosecution in 920 cases, and also set up a toll-free number where citizens can complain about illegal hoardings, it said.
The High Court had earlier warned the political parties of action for contempt of court after it was informed that despite tendering apology and giving undertakings to the court, workers of BJP, MNS and NCP were found to have put up illegal hoardings at several places in the city.