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Illegal hoardings: HC says Bengaluru is left to its own fate owing to BBMP's helplessness

On the issue of financial burden on the corporation, the taxpayers’ money, in removing the illegal flexes, hoardings, the bench said the BBMP is not helpless.
Last Updated : 02 August 2023, 21:10 IST

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The high court on Wednesday said that Bengaluru city is facing uncontrolled and unregulated hoardings/flexes and it is left to its own fate owing to the helplessness on the part of BBMP and also lack of initiative on the part of state government. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice M G S Kamal has asked the authorities to submit an action plan in three weeks time to tackle the issue. The bench also indicated that if any unauthorised hoardings/flexes reported after the three weeks' time, the BBMP and state government have to jointly shell out Rs one lakh as costs.

The bench was hearing a batch of PILs on the issue of illegal hoardings/flexes in the city. During the hearing, the bench termed the compliance report submitted by BBMP as eyewash. The bench said it was surprised at the audacity of BBMP officers to submit it as a ‘compliance affidavit’. “It seems the BBMP is happy riding paper horses and the same reflects that they are not interested in taking any action,” the bench said.

The bench noted that the compliance report is blissfully silent on whether the subordinate officers are failing in their duties and why the top officers fail to take action against them. “Not a single step against such erring officers, political parties and supporters who erected these unauthorised hoardings/flexes/banners. The complaint/FIR is only against those who have erected hoardings for commercial purposes,” the bench said.

The bench further said, “It is not only surprising, shocking but also shakes one's conscience. As such, there is an immediate need to put the respondent authority in action mode. The details regarding complaints/FIRs have to be placed on record, including reasons as to why penalty has not been imposed even in a single matter. Though 59,413 flexes and hoardings identified and 58,429 were removed since March 21, 2023 till date, only a minimal 134 complaints and 40 FIRs have been registered,” the bench said.

On the issue of financial burden on the corporation, the taxpayers’ money, in removing the illegal flexes, hoardings, the bench said the BBMP is not helpless. The bench pointed out that though there are provisions in the BBMP Act and Karnataka Open Places Disfigurement Act, the BBMP is citing helplessness as an excuse to avoid duty cast upon them.

“One is unable to find logic, reason and rationale behind the casual approach of the BBMP authorities. There is a rise in multiple numbers (hoardings) and the corporation is using men and machinery at its cost. On the other hand, those who illegally put these flexes and hoardings have gone scot free,” the bench said.

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Published 02 August 2023, 16:25 IST

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