Enforcing Marathi Signboard Compliance: BMC's Strict Measures in Mumbai

Image depicting BMC's enforcement of double property tax for non-Marathi signboards in Mumbai
Enforcing Marathi Signboard Compliance: BMC's Strict Measures in Mumbai [Image Source:The Indian Express]

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has recently announced a significant measure to enforce the use of Marathi language on signboards in Mumbai. Starting May 1, 2024, shops and establishments failing to display signboards in Marathi or Devanagari script will face double property tax. This initiative is in alignment with the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Rules and follows a directive from the Supreme Court.


The decision was finalized during a review meeting chaired by BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani, adhering to the compliance deadline set by the Supreme Court. Initially, the court had given establishments a two-month window to comply, with a deadline of November 23, 2023.

Compliance Drive and Penalties:

After the Supreme Court's order, the BMC conducted a compliance drive from November 28, 2023, onwards. Out of 87,047 establishments inspected, 96.50% had Marathi signboards. However, 3,040 establishments were issued legal notices for non-compliance, with cases either pending in court or being resolved administratively.

Illuminated Boards and License Renewal Costs:

Besides the double property tax penalty, the BMC has decided to revoke the licenses of illuminated boards without Marathi or Devanagari lettering. The renewal costs for such licenses range from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh, adding to the financial burden on non-compliant establishments.

Legal Proceedings and Fines:

Cases of non-compliance are being addressed both through legal proceedings and administrative methods. Fines totaling Rs 32 lakh have been imposed on 343 cases handled internally, and Rs 13.94 lakh on 177 cases heard in court.

Significance of Property Tax Collection:

The BMC's strict enforcement aims to boost its revenue collection, given its substantial property tax income. In the financial year 2023-24, the BMC collected Rs 3,196 crore in property tax. The double property tax penalty for non-compliant establishments is expected to further enhance revenue while ensuring adherence to signboard language requirements.

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