HC orders FIR against govt over hoarding in Soudha

“Apart from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharwad and Mangaluru cities shall also notify that the commissioner of the corporation should initiate action against illegal advertisement displays," said the court.

The High Court of Karnataka has ordered the state government to frame guidelines to enable urban local bodies and the police to launch criminal cases against illegal hoardings.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur on Friday passed an order on different public interest litigation petitions filed by Mayge Gowda, G R Mohan and others.

Chief Justice Oka said the advertisement displays should have obtained permission under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, 1976, the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, and the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981.

“Apart from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharwad and Mangaluru cities shall also notify that the commissioner of the corporation should initiate action against illegal advertisement displays under sections 135, 136 and 137 of the KMC Act, 1976,” the chief justice said. “The structure of the advertisement displays shall be removed issuing a prior show-cause notice under Section 138 of the KMC Act.” 

The court further directed the government to fix rates on advertisements in different areas of the municipality across the state under the KMA Act, 1964. “Criminal cases shall be registered against illegal advertisements (under) Clause A of sections 2 and 3 of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981,” he said.

The chief justice also observed that citizens have the right to complain against illegal advertisement structures. The authorities are bound to act on their complaints and have a proper redress mechanism, Justice Oka said.

FIR against state 

The chief justice also directed the BBMP to register a criminal case against the state government for installing hoardings on the Vidhana Soudha premises in July. Though the government did not obtain permission from the BBMP, it did not submit objections regarding its “illegal” installation of hoardings in the court. The local authorities can, therefore, take action against them, the top judge added.

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