<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>removed 12,486 banners in the city recently and lodged 2,855 police complaints. Police had registered FIRs in 138 in this connection. BMC also said it had launched prosecution in 920 cases, and also set up toll-free numbers, where citizens can complain about illegal hoardings. The court also asked the state government to appoint a secretary or secretaries of the rank of IAS officers to monitor and supervise the implementation of the provisions of municipal laws as well as the sections of Prevention of Defacement of Property Act. The HC asked all the municipal bodies and district collectors to submit to such secretary the action taken reports on a regular basis. The secretary can hold video conference meetings with all of them to ensure effective implementation of the court’s directions. The bench also directed the state government to ensure that the recovery of expenditure is made from the wrongdoers after taking action of removal of defacement in terms of section 5 of the Defacement Act. The HC ordered the ward officers of municipal bodies to ensure that all illegal hoardings and banners are removed immediately and action taken against the offenders. The court also asked the local police stations to extend cooperation to the municipal staff in this endeavour. The HC ruled that similar protection be extended to all the state government officers when they take action of removal of defacement in accordance with the Defacement Act. Offences under these provisions of the Act are non cognisable and action should be taken against wrongdoers, said the high court. The court ruled that in municipal areas, where there is a Commissioner of Police, he shall nominate one or more senior officers not below the rank of deputy commissioner of police to act as nodal officers to oversee the performance of duties of senior police inspectors in the context of directions issued by the high court against illegal hoardings. In large cities like Mumbai and Pune, more than one of such officers shall be appointed to look into these issues. In case of those municipal areas, where there is no office of Commissioner of Police, the district superintendent of police, shall appoint a nodal officer not below the rank of Deputy SP for this purpose, ruled the high court. The high court also ruled that district collectors would be responsible for enforcement of Prevention of Defacement of Property Act within their respective jurisdictions. For areas not included in municipal limits, the collectors shall appoint nodal officers to ensure there is no defacement. The court directed the state government to formulate a policy for civic bodies dealing with grant of permissions to display sky-signs and advertisements.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it had