Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Anahita Pandole & Ors.  INSC 1490 (2
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5423 OF 2008 (@ Special
Leave Petition(C) No.12971 of 2008) Supri Advertising & Entertainment Pvt.
Appellant Dr. Anahita
Pandole & Ors. ...
CIVIL APPEAL NO. OF 2008 (@ Special Leave Petition (C) No.14822 of 2008)
granted in both the Special Leave Petitions.
Having regard to the
common issues involved in the two appeals and the connected applications, they
were taken up for hearing together.
respondent herein, Dr. Anahita Pandole, filed Writ Petition no.1132 of 2002
before the Bombay High Court for relief mainly against the Municipal
Corporation of Brihan Mumbai and its authorities in granting licences for
mobile hoardings, purportedly in violation of the provisions of Sections 308,
328 and 328A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, Section 116 of the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the provisions of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas)
Preservation of Trees Act 1975. The writ petition appears to have been filed on
account of the writ petitioner's concern regarding the destruction of flora and
fauna and the environment of Mumbai, the damage to heritage buildings in the
city and also the prejudice purportedly caused to the safety of pedestrians and
motorists in Mumbai. By the writ petition, 3 the respondent no.1 sought the
intervention of the High Court to put a check on hoardings, which according to
the respondent no.1, had proliferated alarmingly in the city of Mumbai.
the writ petition, the respondent no.1 herein challenged the permission granted
to various advertising agencies for display of hoardings in breach of the
guidelines framed by the Municipal Corporation of Brihan Mumbai under Sections
328 and 328A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, hereinafter
referred to as "the 1888 Act", and the provisions of the other
enactments mentioned hereinabove. In fact, the writ petitioner also challenged
the provisions of the guidelines which had been framed on the ground that they
were contrary to the provisions of the aforesaid enactments.
case made out in the writ petition is that Section 328 of the 1888 Act, inter
alia, 4 prohibits any person, without the written permission of the Municipal
Commissioner, to erect, fix or retain any sky-sign, which includes hoardings.
Section 328 further provides that no permission under the Section is to be
granted or renewed, for any period exceeding two years from the date of each
such permission or renewal. Sub-section (3) of Section 328 provides that the
Municipal Commissioner may by written notice require the removal of any
sky-sign which is erected, fixed or retained in contravention of the provisions
of Section 328 or after the permission for such erection, fixing or retention
thereof shall have expired or become void. In addition, Section 328 A of the
Act provides that no person shall, without the written permission of the
Municipal Commissioner, erect, exhibit, fix or retain any advertisement upon
any land, building, wall, hoarding or structure. Certain types of
advertisements exempted from the 5 aforesaid restriction, are also included in
the writ petition it was alleged that permission to display mobile hoardings
had been granted to different applicants which has not only caused
environmental problems but had also resulted in serious damage to heritage
buildings of the city, besides causing traffic hazards, even on the arterial
roads of the city and disrupting the smooth flow of traffic. It may be pointed
out at this stage that neither of the appellants herein had been made parties
to the writ petition, but on their application they had been allowed to
intervene in the proceedings.
writ petition, however, focuses more on the alleged violation of the provisions
of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, and reference
to the provisions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988, have been made to buttress such contention.
allegations made in the Writ Petition were denied on behalf of the Mumbai
Municipal Corporation. It was contended that the permission granted to the
appellant in these appeals was in complete conformity with the provisions of
the different enactments referred to in the writ petition and it was
significant that apart from the complaint of the writ petitioner no other
complaint had been received from any of the inhabitants of Mumbai, either with
regard to environmental problems, traffic hazards or obstruction to the smooth
flow of traffic on account of grant of such permission.
consideration of the submissions made on behalf of the respective parties and
the documents produced on their behalf and the Policy Guidelines on Grant of
Permission for Display of Advertisements and Similar Devices, 2007, the Bombay
High Court dismissed Notices of Motion Nos.155/2008, 156/2008 and 171/2008,
with the following directions:
7 "1. In view
of the relevant statutory provisions, settled principles of law and for the
reasons aforerecorded, we direct that `the mobile hoarding vehicles shall not
be parked on the main roads of Mumbai or even the carriage ways and would not
obstruct free flow of traffic in any manner whatsoever at main roads and
carriage ways of Mumbai'.
Resultantly, we see
no reason to vacate the interim orders dated 13th March 2008 and 3rd April
2008. On the contrary, the above orders are made absolute.
2. We direct the State
Government and the Corporation to make appropriate regulations in exercise of
their respective statutory powers and in consultation with the appropriate
bodies in relation to advertisement hoardings. It need to be examined by these
authorities whether such mobile hoarding vehicles can at all be granted such
permissions and/or licences in light of this judgment and the law in force.
3. We further direct
the concerned Police authorities and the competent authorities in the
Corporation and the registering authorities to take action against such
vehicles, and after giving them proper opportunity, in accordance with law and
in light of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, particularly in
relation to design, manufacturing, construction, equipping and alteration of
vehicles 8 and consequential impact thereupon upon registration of such
4. We also issue
further directions to the Chief Secretary of the State of Maharashtra to
examine all these cases and fix responsibility in all the concerned Department
and Public Authorities, if the officers are found to be erring. Further the
State should, in consultation with other Authorities, including Municipal
Corporation and Police, should frame proper policy in regard to various facets
examined by the court in this judgment.
5. All concerned
authorities shall ensure compliance of this order in spirit and substance.
6. Notices of Motion
Nos.155 of 2008, 156 of 2008 and 171 of 2008 are accordingly dismissed. In the
circumstances, we do not propose to award any costs."
is against the said decision of the Bombay High Court that the present appeals
have been filed.
for the appellant, Mr. Aspi Chinoy, learned senior counsel, submitted that the
initial contract granted to the appellant under Section 328-A (4) of 1988 Act
was in 9 January, 2003, and, thereafter, a fresh contract was granted in
favour of the appellant on 21.5.2007 for a period of 2 years for a licence fee
of Rs.10 crores. In this regard, Mr. Chinoy referred to an affidavit filed by
the then Joint Commissioner Police, ATS, holding additional charge of Joint
Commissioner of Police (Traffic), affirmed on 15.4.2008, wherein it has been
mentioned that the Traffic Control Branch, Mumbai, had been granting "no
objection certificates" since 2003 to Mobile Hoarding Vehicles. It has
also been stated that 61 such licences for Mobile Hoarding Vehicles had been
granted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and that advertisers
were permitted to park such Mobile Hoarding Vehicles at 89 locations on public
roads. In addition, "no objection certificates" had also been granted
by the Traffic Control Branch, Mumbai, to 11 Mobile Hoarding Vehicles which
have been permitted to park at places other than public roads, i.e. 2 inside
the BEST Bus Depot, Juhu Tara Road, Haveli 10 Hotel, inside Juhu Car
parking-I, and at Andheri Sahar Road inside the premises of New Airport Colony,
Vile Parle and the land belonging to Maharashtra Maritime Board at Mahim
Causeway. In Sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph 1 of the affidavit it has been
further mentioned that on receipt of the applications for issue of "no
objection certificate" the officers of the Traffic Control Branch, who
were in charge of the local traffic division, visited the spots in respect of
which requests had been received and they studied the traffic conditions on
those particular spots.
Only if it was found
that the proposed parking locations did not create any traffic problems then
only such locations were approved.
periodical checking is carried out by the Traffic Control Branch officers to
ensure that the Mobile Hoarding Vehicles are not parked on any location other
than the approved locations for which the no objection had been issued.
Chinoy also referred to an affidavit filed by the then Joint Commissioner of
Police, Traffic, Mumbai, which was affirmed on 21.4.08 on the basis of
directions given by the High Court regarding details of the Mobile Hoarding
Vehicles and the places where they were located. While answering the queries
formulated by the High Court, it was also stated that while granting "no
objection certificates" to the concerned agencies, the Traffic Control
Branch had studied the flow of traffic at every particular location.
In respect of 14
locations permission had earlier been granted to park Mobile Hoarding Vehicles
near Heritage precincts. However, once the same was brought to the notice of
the traffic police, the mobile hoarding advertisers were directed not to park
the Mobile Hoarding Vehicles near Heritage precincts. It has been further
indicated that though the Municipal Corporation had given permission for
displaying hoardings on Municipal roads, advertising agencies were not allowed
to park their vehicles arbitrarily. It was 12 categorically mentioned that
generally in the morning hours, south bound traffic is very heavy, and,
therefore, Mobile Hoarding Vehicles are allowed to be parked on the north-bound
carriage way and in the evening when the north-bound traffic is very heavy, the
Mobile Hoarding Vehicles are allowed to be parked on the south- bound carriage
way. Due care is taken to ensure that the Mobile Hoarding Vans are not parked
near signals, turns, bottlenecks or any other place which may cause traffic
problems hampering the smooth flow of traffic.
addition to the above, it has also been stated that even when permission is
granted for Mobile Hoarding Vehicles to be parked at a particular spot, at
times when it is found that parking at such spots causes a disruption in the
flow of traffic, officers of the traffic police at times request the vehicles
to be removed. Even when situations arise like heavy traffic, diversions,
natural calamities, law and order, VVIP visits etc., these vehicles are asked
to be 13 removed even from the marked spots to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
Chinoy submitted that the appellant company had always acted upon the contract
executed in their favour and it has entered into third party agreements for
display of advertisement and mobile vans. Consequently, neither the traffic
police nor the Municipal Council of Greater Mumbai had any authority to
determine such contract. Mr. Chinoy submitted that the appellant company had at
no point of time violated any of the terms of the contract and till 17.3.2008
no objections had been raised from any quarter objecting to the parking of the
mobile vans at the spots identified by the traffic police. He submitted that at
no point of time had any of the Mobile Hoarding vans been directly responsible for
any incident of traffic congestion and the alleged obstruction of the flow of
traffic was never an issue till the respondent No.1 took up cudgels allegedly
on behalf of the general public of Mumbai. Mr. Chinoy urged that in the counter
affidavit filed on behalf of the respondent, no objection had been taken
regarding the statements made in the affidavits of the appellant hereinabove
referred to. In addition to the above, Mr. Chinoy, in reference to the prayers
made in the writ petition filed by the respondent No.1, urged that no where is
there any mention of Mobile Hoarding Vans nor has any relief been prayed for in
Chinoy contended that instead of focusing on the main issue regarding grant of
licence for display of hoarding on mobile vans the High Court involved itself
with other issues such as types of vehicles which could be used for the purpose
of displaying Mobile hoardings. The High Court also took up another issue
inter- connected with the first issue involving the alteration of vehicles/vans
which were altered after registration to make them compatible for the purpose
of carrying Mobile Hoardings. The High Court held that the same had been done
in 15 contravention of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the
licenced granted to such vehicles for display of mobile hoardings were liable
to be cancelled.
Chinoy submitted that the High Court had also erroneously relied on newspaper
reports and photographs which were produced by the writ petitioner to bolster
her case regarding obstruction and impediment of traffic allegedly caused by
such Mobile Hoarding Vehicles.
Chinoy submitted that it is on the basis of such newspaper reports that certain
presumptions had been drawn by the High Court relating to parking places
allotted by the traffic police for parking of the Mobile Hoarding Vans. In this
regard, reference was made to Section 117 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,
which, inter alia, provides that the State Government may, in consultation with
the local authority having jurisdiction in the area concerned, determine places
at which motor vehicles may stand either indefinitely or for a 16 specific
period of time. It was urged that the Mobile Hoarding Vehicles were either
parked on the spots allotted by the Municipal Corporation in consultation with
the traffic police or in parking zones which, in any event, were meant for
parking of vehicles.
Chinoy submitted that the writ petition filed by the respondent No.1 and the
reliefs sought for therein were entirely misconceived and without any
foundation. He submitted that the High Court had erred in dismissing the Notice
of Motion No.155 of 2008 filed on behalf of the appellant herein in the writ
petition filed by the respondent No.1 giving a blanket direction that no Mobile
Hoarding Vehicle should be parked in the main roads and carriageways.
for the appellant, Imaan Publicity, in Special Leave Petition (C)No.14822 of
2008, Syed Tanvir Shah learned advocate, while adopting Mr. Chinoy's
submissions, added a few facts which were peculiar to the said case.
firstly mentioned that the licence which had been granted by the Public Works
Department on 28.11.2005 was for parking mobile hoarding vans on the Eastern
Express Highway, which did not in any way cause any blockage which could have a
cascading affect on traffic within the city of Mumbai. In the permission so
granted, it was also indicated that the appellant would also have to obtain
necessary permission from the Traffic Police and the Brihan Mumbai Electric
Supply and Transport Undertaking (hereinafter referred to as "the BEST
Undertaking") and the Greater Bombay Municipal Corporation and it was
stipulated that if any one of the three authorities chose not to grant
permission, the permission granted by the Public Works Department would be
Shah submitted that, thereafter, the appellant also obtained "no objection
certificate" from the BEST Undertaking which granted such "no
objection certificate" for 10 mobile hoarding vans on the Eastern Express
18 Highway on 14.3.2006. This was followed by permission granted on 18.4.2006
by the office of the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) in respect of such
10 mobile hoarding vans on the Eastern Express Highway. The permission granted
by the said three authorities was supported by the permission granted by the
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai on 23.6.2006 for a period of 5 years up
to the year 2011. As many as 32 conditions were included by the said
Corporation in its letter granting permission for parking/plying 10 Mobile
Hoarding Vans or vehicles/lorries on the Eastern Express Highway.
Mr. Shah urged that
when all the concerned authorities who were required to give "no objection
certificates" for permission to the appellants to display advertisements
on Mobile Hoarding Vans had given such certificates, it was quite erroneous on
the part of the High Court in giving the directions impugned in the appeal
relying on newspaper reports and photographs produced by the writ petitioner in
support of her 19 case of alleged obstruction and impediment of traffic said
to have been caused by some of the mobile hoarding vehicles. Reference was made
by Mr. Shah to the decision of this Court in Ramarao vs. All India Backward
Class Bank Employees Welfare Association, (2004) 2 SCC 76), for the proposition
that though the High Court is entitled to take into consideration subsequent
events, the same can only be a relevant factor for the purpose of moulding the
reliefs, but while moulding such reliefs the High Court could not have
considered grant of a relief where no factual foundation existed or was laid in
the pleadings of the parties, which has been explained in paragraph 25 of the
Shah urged that the impugned judgment of the High Court was based more on
conjecture than actual facts and was, therefore, liable to be set aside.
counsel for the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Mr. Pallav Shisodia, submitted
that the High Court had failed to appreciate the fact 20 that granting of
licences by the Municipal Corporation was part of its legitimate commercial
activity on which fetters could not be imposed except on grounds of public
interest and disruption of normal life within the area of its jurisdiction. He
submitted that the Municipal area of Greater Mumbai was divided into 3 zones,
i) City zone which
extends up to Mahim;
ii) Eastern zone
which extends from Sion to Mulund; and iii) East-Western zone which extends
from Mahim to Gaisal.
He submitted that in
each zone permission has been given for 10 vehicles to be used as Mobile
Hoarding Vans for the purpose of display of advertisements. He submitted that
the guidelines which had been issued in the year 2000 had subsequently been
superseded by the guidelines published in 2008 wherein several other criteria
were included for the purpose of grant of permission for display of sky-signs
and 21 advertisements under Sections 328 and 328-A of the 1888 Act. Mr.
Shisodia submitted that all the said restrictions have been included in the
conditions for grant of permit either by the Bombay Municipal Corporation or
the Traffic Police. He urged that the High Court had taken note of the said
conditions and the powers of the Corporation flowing from the provisions of
Sections 328 and 328-A of the Act and had elaborately discussed the same. While
holding that the guidelines had been framed by the Commissioner only for the
purpose of exercising the discretion vested in him under Section 328-A, the
High Court also held that the same do not and cannot have the force of law per
se and are nothing but guidelines prepared for exercise of administrative power
by the authorities concerned.
of the points raised by the respondent No.1 was with regard to the height of
the hoardings which were erected on the chassis of the Mobile Vans by means of
a hydraulic system, which 22 was not permitted under the Motor Vehicles Rules.
Replying to the same,
Mr. Shisodia submitted that the said condition would relate to the fabrication
of the display vehicles which was in the domain of the Motor Vehicles
Department, and in the absence of the views of the Motor Vehicles authorities
and also having regard to the fact that permission for parking the said
vehicles had been given by the Traffic Department, the same could not be a reason
not to grant permission to the appellants to use Mobile Hoarding Vans for the
display of advertisements.
Shisodia concluded his submissions on the note that the directions ultimately
given in the impugned judgment were completely beyond the scope of the writ
petition and the prayers made therein.
He submitted that the
High Court had exceeded its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution
in giving the directions complained of without there being any factual
foundation for the same.
counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of the State of Maharashtra.
However, Mr. Kaushik, 23 learned counsel appearing for the State, relied upon
the affidavit affirmed by the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mumbai,
whereby grant of licence to the appellant and others for parking Mobile
Hoarding Vans for display of advertisements had been sought to be justified.
Mr. Kaushik also
referred to paragraph 10 of the impugned judgment wherein it had been stated
that the State Government had issued permits for the vans which were found
road-worthy and it had no serious objection to the continuation of these
vehicles on the road. He objected to the finding of the High Court in paragraph
10 of the judgment that the State had not been able to come out with a clear
and definite stand on the matter in issue.
According to Mr.
Kaushik, the stand of the State Government was quite clear that it had no
objection to the grant of permission by the concerned authorities to the Mobile
Hoarding Vans subject to the condition that the flow of traffic was not
impaired by the parking of such vehicles, though, of course, it had been
submitted on behalf 24 of the Corporation that in certain eventualities if
there was any interference with free flow of traffic for any particular reason,
where a Mobile Hoarding Van was parked, the same had been directed to be
removed to another location to enable the Traffic Police to clear the traffic
to the submissions made on behalf of the appellant, the State of Maharashtra
and the Bombay Municipal Corporation, Mr. Arvind Kumar, appearing for the
respondent No.1 (the writ petitioner before the High Court), submitted that the
problem posed in the writ petition before the High Court was not of recent
origin and had also fallen for consideration in other matters, such as the case
of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India, (1997) 8 SCC 770, regarding some of the
provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and their relevance in the
management of control of traffic in the National Capital Region and the
National Capital Territory of Delhi. It was submitted that the questions raised
involved public safety and, 25 therefore, came within the ambit of Article 21
of the Constitution. It was also held that the Motor Vehicles Act provides
sufficient powers to the Transport and Police authorities to effectively deal
with the problem and the same had to be construed so as to keep individual or a
class interest subordinate to the larger public interest. In fact, certain
directions were also given by this Court to the police and all other
authorities entrusted with the administration and enforcement of the Motor
Vehicles Act and control and regulation of traffic, in exercise of the
powers vested in this Court under Article 32 read with Article 142 of the
said directions were given mainly with the intention of ensuring public safety
and to ensure that the vehicles used on the roads did not impair public safety.
Arvind Kumar submitted that after the aforesaid decision of this Court in M.C.
Mehta's case (supra), certain other writ petitions on the same issues were also
taken up for consideration 26 along with several Interlocutory Applications
filed in the disposed of writ petition, being Writ Petition (Civil) No.13029 of
1985. I.A.No.12, which was filed in the said writ petition, was made by the
Delhi Outdoor Advertising Association praying for clarification/modification of
the Order dated 20.11.1997 in so far as it related to the direction given
therein for the removal of all hoardings which are on roadsides and which are
alleged to be a disturbance to safe traffic movement. Mr. Arvind Kumar pointed
out that this Court rejected the said prayer upon observing that the order
dated 20.11.1997 was quite clear and had been correctly understood by the
authorities and all concerned. This Court observed that the order directed that
every hoarding, other than traffic signs and road-signs on road sides have to
be removed irrespective of its kind; every hoarding irrespective of whether it
is on the road side or not, which is hazardous and a disturbance to safe
traffic movement so as to adversely affect free and safe flow of traffic, is
required to be 27 identified by the authorities and promptly removed. It was
also observed that obviously the hazardous hoarding which is a disturbance to
safe traffic movement has to be a hoarding visible to the traffic on the road.
Arvind Kumar then pointed out that the Certificate of Registration of one of
the Mobile Hoarding Vans for which permission had been granted to the appellant
for display of hoardings clearly indicated that the vehicle in question was a
Medium Goods Vehicle which had been referred to as a Display Vehicle.
Furthermore, in the Goods Carriage Permit the usage of the vehicle was shown to
be for carrying general goods. Mr. Arvind Kumar urged that the vehicle in
question had been altered to meet the requirements for raising hoardings on the
vehicle in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Motor Vehicles Rules. In
addition to the above, Mr. Arvind Kumar also pointed out from the pictures
annexed to the affidavit filed on behalf of the respondent No.1 that the
hoardings on the mobile vans had been 28 raised and placed in such a manner
when parked that a portion of the hoarding was jutting out on the main
carriageway which in itself was a traffic hazard. He also pointed out that
Mobile Hoarding Vans were also parked at will even in "No Parking"
Arvind Kumar urged that in addition to the above, the raised hoardings were
raised above the height permitted for carrying goods on transport vehicles and
created distraction for motorists which could lead to serious consequences as
far as the pedestrian public was concerned.
Arvind Kumar submitted that after meticulously considering all the materials on
record and the submissions made on behalf of the parties, the High Court had
rightly dismissed the writ petition with the directions given in the impugned
judgment keeping in mind the general public interest as against the commercial
interest of a few. It was submitted that the impugned judgment of the High
Court was just and equitable and no interference was called for therewith.
have carefully considered the submissions made on behalf of the respective
parties, having particular regard to the issues that have been raised, which
undoubtedly concerned the public interest and safety of motorists and
pedestrians and seek to ensure free and smooth flow of traffic in the city of
Mumbai. We have also considered the writ petitioner's concern with regard to
the damage to the flora and fauna and the environment of Mumbai, together with
the damage to heritage buildings in the city. However, all the actions taken by
the respondents in permitting erection of hoardings, either fixed or otherwise,
appear to have been taken within the confines of the Mumbai Municipal
Corporation Act, 1888. While generally considering the complaint made by the
respondent No.1 in her writ petition, the Bombay High Court has tangentially
taken up another issue involving the eligibility under the Motor Vehicles Act
and Rules of Mobile Hoarding Vans to operate on the roads in their modified
form. One of the issues raised by the respondent No.1 is that the vehicles 30
which were used as Mobile Hoarding Vans had originally been registered as
"goods carrying vehicles" or "display vehicles". It was
urged that after their modification the Mobile Hoarding Vehicles underwent a
complete transformation which necessitated the grant of fresh Certificates of
Registration from the Motor Vehicles authorities.
the said issue has been given a good deal of thought by the High Court, the
authority to decide such a question would be authorities under the Motor
Vehicles Act and not the Court.
authorities who are entitled in law to grant licence for displaying such
advertisements, such as the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and the traffic
police, have assented to the grant of such licences upon holding that they do
not constitute a traffic hazard nor did they disrupt the smooth flow of traffic
on the roads on which they are permitted to be parked.
The respondent No.1
has not been able to provide 31 any data on the frequency of the obstruction
of smooth flow of traffic along the roads on which the Mobile Hoarding Vans had
been allowed to be parked. All that has been pointed out by the respondent No.1
is that the height and width of the displayed hoardings tend to distract
motorists and obstruct vehicular traffic of a certain height.
the other hand, the affidavits filed on behalf of the Mumbai Municipal
Corporation and the Mumbai Traffic Police clearly indicate that they have no
objection to the grant of licences to Mobile Hoarding Vans and that those
already granted had been so granted after a proper study had been made of the
traffic conditions and the flow of traffic at the spots where the Mobile
Hoarding Vans were ultimately permitted to be parked for displaying their
hoardings. It is also significant that except for the respondent No.1 no other
citizen of the city of Mumbai has joined the litigation to support the stand
taken by the respondent No.1/writ petitioner. Care has been 32 taken by the
Municipal authorities, as well as the traffic police, to ensure that the cone
of vision of the person driving a vehicle was not obstructed by such Mobile
Hoardings. As indicated hereinabove, the objection taken by the respondent No.1
with regard to the damage being caused to the heritage buildings in the city
had been taken note of by the concerned authorities and such hoardings and
advertisements have been directed to be removed, either from the buildings
themselves or from in front of them. In this connection we may also add that
though the destruction to the flora and fauna of Mumbai city was not treated as
the principal issue before us, it would certainly be in the interest of the
public to see that such greenery within the city is not destroyed or interfered
with. It is well accepted that trees provide an ecological respite against the
amount of pollution generated in a commercial city like Mumbai on account of
the sheer number of vehicles that travel on the roads and the volume of people
moving in and out of Mumbai city in connection 33 with their work. It would
definitely be in the interest of the residents as well as the mobile population
of Mumbai if the green cover available in Mumbai is not only preserved but also
increased. In this regard we are in agreement with the concern shown by the
writ petitioner/respondent No.1 herein.
has also been taken where the flow of traffic is high in a given direction to
allow parking of Mobile Hoarding Vans on the opposite carriageway so that no
distraction or obstruction is caused to the cone of vision of the motorists
while proceeding with the flow of traffic. Care has also been taken to ensure
that Mobile Hoarding Vans are not parked near signals, turns, bottlenecks or
any other place which may interrupt the smooth flow of traffic. Inspite of the
above, in case of a traffic blockage at a spot where such Mobile Hoarding Vans
are parked, it has been stated that they are asked to move to some other
location to clear such blockage.
Chinoy has referred to Section 117 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which
empowers the State Government or any Authority authorized in this regard by the
State Government, in consultation with the local authority having jurisdiction
in the area concerned, inter alia, to determine places at which motor vehicles
may stand either indefinitely or for a specified period of time. In the instant
case, the State Government, in consultation with the Mumbai Municipal
Corporation, appears to have invoked the provisions of the said Section to
indicate the spots at which the Mobile Hoarding Vans could be allowed to park
and that too after a study of the flow of traffic at such given spots.
Similarly, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation has also exercised its jurisdiction
under Sections 328 and 328-A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act in
granting licences for the parking of Mobile Hoarding Vans for the display of
Since the authorities
which have been empowered to grant such licences and to specify spots for 35
parking, have exercised their authority, it would not be safe for the Court to
question the decision taken by the said authorities on the basis of allegations
made by an individual, without having anything more to rely upon, especially,
in the face of the affidavits affirmed both on behalf of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation
and the Mumbai Traffic Police.
is, however, one sphere which possibly requires further inquiry and that is
with regard to the modification of the vehicles carrying the mobile hoardings
from their original form to make them suitable for display of such hoardings.
Although, the same is
not directly in issue in the instant case, the said question has been gone into
by the High Court in some detail. However, as has been rightly submitted by Mr.
Shisodia appearing for the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the same is within the
domain of the Motor Vehicles Authorities and not the concern of the Mumbai
Municipal Corporation or the Mumbai Traffic Police. In respect of such
grievance, the 36 respondent No.1 may take up the issue with the authorities under
the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, who are competent to deal with the same.
High Court, in our view, in its anxiety to ensure the free movement of traffic
and the safety of both motorists and pedestrians and to avert any untoward
incident, has proceeded to question the decision taken by the competent
authorities without having proper material before it to do so.
Contrary to the
authority vested in the State Government and the local authority under the
provisions of Section 117 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Sections 328 and
328-A of the 1888 Act, the High Court has given directions which, in our view,
are beyond the scope of the writ petition.
accordingly, allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the High Court
impugned in this appeal and the directions contained therein, but we also make
it clear that this will not prevent the respondent No.1 from moving the
appropriate authorities regarding the modification of vehicles as Mobile
Hoarding Vans. We also make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion as
far as the said issue is concerned and it will be within the domain of the
Motor Vehicles authorities to take such decision in the matter as appears to
them to be fit and proper.
regard to the nature of the case the parties shall bear their own costs in the