The Bombay High Court on Thursday said the menace of illegal hoardings can be stopped if political leaders and ministers, whose pictures are displayed on them, urge their followers not to do so.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik said that if political leaders and ministers indulge their followers, then such illegal hoardings will continue to be put up everywhere.
“Ministers and political leaders whose pictures are placed in these hoardings should go to the public and ask them not to do this. They (public) will listen to them,” the court said. The court further wondered what could be done when those who are in charge of governance themselves do not follow the rule of law.
The bench was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) on the issue of illegal banners, hoardings and posters put up by political parties across the state, which according to the pleas defaced public places. In 2016, the high court had directed the state government and all municipal corporations to ensure that no illegal hoardings are put up in public places and had directed the authorities to submit the compliance reports.
Chief Justice Datta on Thursday noted that judiciary cannot enter the domain of the executive and implement orders. “The high court has passed an order and we have to depend on the executive to implement it. We cannot go to the street and implement our orders,” he said.
The court noted that if there was no “genuine intention” (on the part of the government), then it will never be implemented. The bench directed the state government to file a report by August 12 stating what measures it proposes to take to tackle this “menace”.
The court also suggested for all municipal corporations and district councils to share with ward officers and police station a list of the hoardings that have been granted permission. “If this list is shared real time then it would help the police act against the illegal hoardings. These are all matters of the administration which officers should be abreast of,” Chief Justice Datta said.