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Marathi signboards in Maharashtra

Date: 15 January 2022 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

A new rule has been legislated by the Maharashtra government for all shops and establishments to display Marathi signboards in Devanagari script.

 

Background

The new rule is significant considering the upcoming elections to various local bodies in Maharashtra.

 

Details

  • It is mandatory for all shops and establishments to display nameplates in Marathi across the state, as notified by the government.

  • The new rules were notified after amending the Maharashtra Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 2017.

  • In addition, the rule also says that the font of the Marathi script cannot be smaller than the font of other scripts.

  • The government will have powers to punish violators under Shops Act, 2017. It will cover establishments like grocery shops, offices, hotels, restaurants, bars and theaters.

 

Introduction of the new rules

  • The Maharashtra Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 2017 had given exemptions like no registrations for license for shops and establishments with 0 to 9 workers.

  • For shops having more employees, the rules were not changed and included the provision of putting nameplates in Marathi.

  • This loophole was used by many shops to exempt themselves from putting up Marathi name boards.

 

Criticism

  • Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association (FRTWA) has highlighted that the rule is in violation of a petition pending before Bombay High Court.

  • The court has stopped the state government and BMC from imposing fines on violators if they have not used Marathi name boards.