The deadline to shops and commercial establishments for displaying Marathi signboards will end on Friday. However, the matter is slated for hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday, the decision about further action will be taken after the apex court order, said civic officials. Meanwhile, 50 per cent of shops and establishments are yet to make the required changes.
The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a bill in March that mandates all shops and establishments to display signboards in Devanagari script. Acting on it, the BMC issued guidelines and set a deadline of May 31, which was opposed by the retailers’ association. At the request of several trade associations, the deadline was extended till June 30 and again till September 30. But even after three months of extension, the civic officials found in a review that only 2.5 lakh shops have displayed the Marathi signboards.
The Bombay High Court also upheld the government’s decision making it mandatory for all commercial establishments across the state to display signboards in Devanagari script. Meanwhile, the Federation of Retailers and Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) moved the Supreme Court challenging the state government’s decision and the high court’s ruling on Marathi signboards.
Adv Mohini Priya, representing FRTWA said, “We have challenged the amended provision 36 (A) which was earlier rule 35, according to which the move of Marathi signboards was introduced. After the amendment, the rule was changed into an Act that mandated the setting up of Marathi sign boards outside shops and establishments.” We have challenged the constitutionality of the Act questioning whether the state can impose such an act, she added.
Deputy municipal commissioner (specials) Sanjog Kabre, said, “Considering the request from the retailer association we postponed the deadline twice which ends on September 30. Since there is a hearing in the Supreme Court, we will be in a position to decide further course of action only after the order.: There are around five lakh shops and establishments across the city.
As per the amendment in the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act of 2017, violators will be fined Rs 2,000 per person employed in their shops. It also mentions that the font size of the letters in Marathi language should be prominently visible and should be larger than the fonts of other languages used on the signboards.