HC stays BBMP ban on outdoor advertisements

HC stays BBMP ban on outdoor advertisements

In a significant development that may resurrect outdoor advertisement hoardings, the Karnataka High Court stayed the BBMP’s resolution to ban flexes and hoardings for a year, noting that the resolution doesn’t partake the nature of the bylaw.

In a significant development that may resurrect outdoor advertisement hoardings, the Karnataka High Court stayed the BBMP’s resolution to ban flexes and hoardings for a year, noting that the resolution doesn’t partake the nature of the bylaw.

During a recent hearing of the writ petition, a single-judge bench of G Narendar observed that prima facie the BBMP resolution appears to be contrary to not only the statutory provision (bylaw) but also in violation of the constitutional rights (commercial speech and trade) guaranteed to the petitioner’s advertising firm.

The petitioner had contended that the total ban had no grounding in the law, which allows the civic body to regulate and restrict advertisements in the city. The counsel had argued that apart from vaguely stating certain grounds, the resolution had no empirical data to support it.

The bench took exception to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) attempt to “convince the court” to read a public notice as a notice given to advertising companies as per the provisions of the bylaw.

It said the BBMP can’t bypass rules that mandate serving notice to the advertisers before ordering removal of the hoardings. “Pending disposal of the writ petition, there shall be an interim stay of the operation of the adjudication orders,” it said.

Bylaw yet to be approved

“The fact remains that till date, the government is yet to approve the proposed bylaws and as on today, there can be no dispute that the field is covered by the existing bylaws, the Advertisement Bylaws, 2006,” it said in the order passed on July 12, three days before the government notified the draft bylaw.

Following a rap by the court on illegal hoardings and advertisements in the city, the BBMP started removing them. Two months after a resolution to ban such advertisements, the BBMP submitted in October 2018 that more than 1,500 hoardings have been removed.