HC quashes BBMP resolution banning advertisements

The BBMP passed the resolution last year after the high court came down heavily on it over illegal hoardings choking the city.

The Karnataka High Court quashed BBMP’s August 6, 2018 resolution which banned advertisements for one year, saying it violated the corporation’s bylaws as well as fundamental rights.

A single-judge bench of S Sunil Dutt Yadav gave the order after hearing a petition filed by advertising companies. “It is clear that the obtaining and renewal of licence, permission and registration as regards advertisement and its display and its regulation and prohibition are entirely governed by the statutory provisions read with the Advertisement Bylaws, 2006,” it said, adding that the bylaw does not provide for prohibition.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike passed the resolution last year after the high court came down heavily on it over illegal hoardings choking the city.

The court also considered the BBMP’s claim that the resolution was passed seeking to impose restrictions/prohibition only in the intermediate period till the Palike implements an advertisement policy.

“The provisions of the 2006 bylaw and fundamental rights of the petitioners cannot be suspended till the BBMP implements the new advertisement policy and bylaw,” it said.

The petitioners cited a Supreme Court verdict from 1995 to assert their right of commercial speech under Article 19(1)(a), which deals with freedom of speech and expression. Citing apex court verdicts, they contended that “commercial speech was a part of the freedom of speech and expression”.

“In the present case, the advertising agencies can be said to be an intermediary providing a medium between the speaker and the recipient and hence would themselves be entitled to exercise the right under Article 19(1)(a) which would answer the contention as regards locus standi of the petitioners,” the court said.

Noting that the BBMP’s resolution is unilateral, the court, however, said the order will not restrict BBMP from taking action against illegal advertisements. It added that such action should be taken as per the 2006 bylaws.

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HC quashes BBMP resolution banning advertisements

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