This is a simmering issue given that it has been going on for so long and has evoked substantial controversy in the past, too
The BMC recently stated that the teams of civic officers inspected 3,575 shops and establishments across the megapolis and found signboards of 161 shops and establishments violating the apex court directive and rules about Marathi signboards.
The civic body took legal action against 161 shops and establishments for not displaying their signboards in the Marathi (Devnagari) script in bold letters, in violation of a Supreme Court directive. The civic body has constituted teams in 24 civic wards and they have been given powers to take legal action against violators. This is a simmering issue given that it has been going on for so long and has evoked substantial controversy in the past, too.
While going against court orders will certainly bring about action, this must be fair and most importantly, in line with the rules. The shopkeepers must be able to function without fear of thuggery and not in an atmosphere of intimidation. Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on November 22 displayed banners in Mumbai hinting at an aggressive protest if the Supreme Court ‘deadline’ for putting up signboards of shops and hotels in Marathi (Devnagari script) is not adhered to.
Let us see streamlined action, based on absolute clarity. We cannot have shopfronts broken, windows smashed and owners, many of these are employees threatened by political parties.
There is a way to go about this adhering to all regulations, rather than running amok in the city. Shopkeepers always talk about being a soft target during rallies or morchas for other reasons. Their establishments are vandalised or broken to spread fear and because they are visible. They are often forced to shut shop, and lose business as strikes by parties for any reason, ask them to down their shutters. While that may have another context, the point is that punitive action too must be meted out in a just, orderly way.