BENGALURU: Cracking down hard on visual pollution in Bengaluru and other parts of the state, the Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the State Government to register criminal cases against those putting up advertisements on billboards, banners, hoardings, flexes and posters. The court also said action should be taken immediately to remove such illegal advertisements.
The court directed the government to issue necessary instructions to the police authorities across the state to register FIRs under Section 3 of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act immediately, upon receiving complaints regarding illegal advertisements from the public authorities.
Noting that advertisements put up illegally cause obstructions on streets, hinder traffic and deface cities and towns, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur said, the menace is not confined only to Bengaluru, but spread across the state. The government should communicate to all municipal corporations and municipalities to initiate action against violators. The offenders can be arrested without warrant since it is a cognisable offence, the bench said.
As far as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is concerned, the court said that the huge number of illegal advertisements in the city are a public nuisance and eyesore which have completely destroyed the environs.
The citizens have a fundamental right under Article 21-A of the Constitution to have a meaningful and healthy life. If defacement of public property is allowed, it will completely spoil the city’s environment and infringe on the fundamental rights of citizens, the court said.
Therefore, the BBMP should conduct a survey to identify illegal advertisements put up without obtaining permission under Section 135 of the KMC Act and take action against them including registering FIRs. The process of identifying illegal advertisement should be a continuous process, it said.
The bench also made it clear that BBMP should act the very same day if illegal advertisements crop up during special occasions. As far as the illegal advertisement with the state emblem erected near Vidhana Soudha is concerned, the court directed the government to register a complaint with the police. Stressing that no advertisement can displayed without valid permission under Section 135 of KMC Act, the court said that every citizen has a right to complain to BBMP or the authorities responsible for initiating action. The BBMP should then set criminal law into motion, the bench ordered.
Directing the Palike Commissioner to take steps to ensure details like date of permission and period of validity etc., are printed on advertisements, the court said that sufficient opportunity should be given to the parties before taking action against illegal advertisements erected in public places.
The court has asked the state government to file a compliance report by December 13 and adjourned the case to December 16