Mumbai OOH owners pin hopes on HC order for July licence fee relief

If the Bombay High Court rules in OOH owners' favour, they will be able to reclaim their payments with interest

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Sep 10, 2020 9:45 AM
Mumbai OOH Licence Fee Waiver

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has said that it will exempt the licence fees for July 2020, said OOH industry player on the condition of anonymity. They say that discussions are on for an amicable agreement between the two parties. 

After a month-long break, the topic of Mumbai OOH owners' appeal for licence fee waiver has taken centre stage. There are hopes that the July 2020 ‘Under Protest’ clause that was implemented may be exempted. However, no concrete discussion has been taken as yet. The final decision and court verdict will be declared by Friday.

The Mumbai OOH owners contend that the plea is not for compensation in the lockdown period. It's a fair request, they say, since they filed zero revenue in the months of April-July 2020 and also had no consumer visibility.

The court hearing had been postponed for over a month due to the overload of COVID cases the Bombay HC had to deal with. The previous court hearing on the issue at hand was to take place on 22nd July 2020, which was adjourned for a month.

 On 1st July 2020, the Bombay High Court passed a verdict that OOH Owners would have to pay their licence fees for their owned media sites for July under an ‘Under Protest’ clause.

The OOH owners agreed as the nation had already transitioned to the Unlock stage and if the Bombay HC rules in their favour, they can reclaim their payment with an added interest.

As discussions are still on Mumbai OOH owners have said that they are positive the court will rule in their favour in the final verdict but can’t confirm on the discussions yet. However, MCGM still insists on May and June 2020 licence fee payment. Players say that it will be a saving grace if those payments are also exempted in the final hearing. 

The appeal has also led to some positive developments, like March 2020 licence fee waiver and permission to remove COVID ads in June.

The petition for the fee waiver on owned media sites was filed by eight Mumbai-based OOH owners: Creation Publicity Pvt. Ltd, Bright Advertising Pvt. Ltd, Orion Advertisers, Anurag Sites, Em Vee Advertising Company, Pingle Outdoor, Yoga Advertisers, and Pioneer Publicity Corporation Ltd.

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