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Bombay HC asks CIDCO to present concrete policy on hoardings

By M4G Bureau - May 28, 2024

Court prioritises safety and structural integrity of the media over blanket removal of hoardings

The Bombay High Court has directed the City and Industrial Development Authority (CIDCO) to formulate a reasonable policy for managing hoardings, stressing the need for safety audits rather than a sweeping removal of all advertisements.

Bombay HC asks CIDCO to present concrete policy on hoardings

A Times of India report states that during a hearing on May 27, Justices Nitin Borkar and Somasekhar Sundaresan described CIDCO's approach of indiscriminately issuing removal notices to hoardings as "carpet bombing" and instead directed the organisation to come up with "some reasonable policy”. 

The case was brought before the court by advertising agencies Devangi Outdoor Advertising and Gargee Graphics, which challenged CIDCO's 24-hour removal notices for hoardings in Panvel, within the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area. The petitioners' counsel argued that CIDCO, as the planning authority, lacked a clear policy for granting permissions for hoardings on private lands. They cited a previous Bombay High Court judgment stating that permissions should be obtained from municipal corporations in city areas and municipal councils or gram panchayats in rural areas.

CIDCO's advocate countered that the hoardings in question were erected between 2018-19, and permissions were only applied for in 2023. It was acknowledged that CIDCO had not conducted a structural audit of all hoardings. The judges also proposed that a safety audit be conducted at the owners' expense to evaluate the condition of the hoardings. 

The report also states that the petitioners had conducted a structural audit immediately after the Ghatkopar incident. Although the audit revealed some rust and the need for repairs, the hoardings were deemed stable, requiring only a new coat of paint.

The court has asked CIDCO to present a detailed and concrete policy by May 30, prioritising safety and structural integrity over the blanket removal of hoardings.

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