High Court demands status report

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Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday has directed Shimla Municipal Corporation to submit a status report, on a matter related to the unauthorised hoardings in public places and defacement of public property.

The Court had also directed the respondents to file a status report and complete details of the action taken under the Himachal Pradesh Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1985, within two weeks.

The orders were passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice A.A. Sayed and Justice Sabina on a petition filed by Anil Kumar.  

The petitioner has alleged that the respondents namely Chief Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla and M.C. Shimla, have permitted political parties to install their hoardings in complete violation of Rule 9 of 2007 notification which provides that no advertisement/hoarding shall be allowed in the Heritage Zone especially on the stretches of road i.e. Mall Road starting from Rashtrapati Bhawan to Chhota Shimla including Ridge on the one side upto Regal Building (Lakkar Bazar) and on the other side along Ridge road to Mall via Rani Jhansi Park and U.S. Club road upto U.S Club Gate.

The petitioner has prayed that respondents may be directed to strictly adhere to the guidelines relating to affixing of advertisement hoarding within the limits of M.C. Shimla in compliance of this High Court order dated August 2007.

The Court, in its earlier order dated June 1, 2022, had observed that the issues of public importance have been raised in the petition and thus ordered to treat the aforesaid petition, as Public Interest Litigation.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Shimla Monica Bhutungru, who was present in the Court on that date had informed the court that three FIRs were registered in the matter and the matter was under investigation. 

Municipal Commissioner, Shimla who was also present in the court had informed that notices to the violators were issued and unauthorised hoardings/posters were being removed.

The Court had appreciated the prompt action taken by both the officers, however, it had observed that the work of removing unauthorised hoardings/posters, as also preventing defacement, as initiated, should continue even without the intervention of the Court.

The matter has been posted for July 21, 2022.

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