SC restores Guju Ads’ rights on Juhu hoardings
By Bhawana Anand - March 12, 2018
Bhavesh Bhinde, Director, Guju Ads explains the process that was followed in the grant of contract for the hoardings, reckons that opposition to erection of the sites stemmed from business rivalry in the OOH space
The issue surrounding the outdoor advertising structures put up by Guju Ads in Juju area of Mumbai took another twist when the Supreme Court in its order abrogated an earlier Bombay High Court order that called for dismantling the structures. The High Court had issued the order after hearing a petition filed by Palm Grove Beach Hotels Pvt. Ltd along with other two writ petitions that cited that the hoardings were erected without any approval from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Guju Ads moved the Supreme Court after the High Court has passed the order. The Supreme Court granted Guju Ads the liberty to move – within three days of the order -- the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, or any other appropriate competent authority for Grant of Permission for the Hoardings and Display Advertisements, and stated since it does not see the urgency to demolish the structures, status quo is to be maintained on the removal of the hoardings. The Court further instructed that the authority shall take appropriate decision within two weeks thereupon, after affording an opportunity of hearing the petitioner and to ‘respondent no. 2’ and to any other authority.
Bhavesh Bhinde, Director, Guju Ads broke his silence on this matter in an exclusive discussion with Media4Growth. “This property was tendered for the first time last year and we got the letter in November 2017. Since this was the first time the tender was conducted, there was less clarity on several matters, including the authorities involved. However, now the Honorable Supreme Court has ordered the municipal corporation to permit permission for these sites in two week’s duration which they have to follow”. With this order, Guju Ads will have to pay taxes to the municipal Corporation as well.
If this order is not entirely followed by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Guju Ads could approach the Court again.
This entire episode also raised questions on the tendering process followed in to allot the rights for the sites. Bhavesh said the Court observed that the structures were put up following open tendering and the contract was awarded by a competent authority, which was Airports Authority of India (AAI) in this case. Guju Ads had also invested substantial amounts to construct the advertising structures after getting due approvals from AAI with regard to the size and dimensions of the structures.
As regards the alleged involvement of some media owning firms in queering the pitch for Guju Ads, Bhavesh said that rivalry in business could be the root cause. He cited that Guju Ads broke through the monopoly of media ownership held by some firms and was able to achieve better returns on investment.
When asked if the issue had dented client confidence in Guju Ads, Bhavesh asserted that there were no adverse reactions. Rather, he said that more clarity on the legal matters concerning the sites would help the advertising clients too.