In a public notice on August 13, BBMP Commissioner said all illegal advertisement related infrastructure must be removed by September 5.

Ktaka HC orders BBMP re-issue ad and advance deadline to remove illegal banners
news Civic Issues Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - 18:44

Facing the wrath of the Karnataka High Court, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad has been forced to publish a corrigendum to a public notice related to illegal banners, flexes and buntings.


 In a notice published on August 13 in dailies, the Commissioner had warned that all illegal advertisement related infrastructure must be removed by September 5 in order to avoid penal action by the authorities. Now, in the rectified advertisements, the Commissioner has said the deadline has been advanced to August 30.

 Earlier this week, the BBMP was told to remove all illegal advertisements in the city by end-August, but BBMP, in its affidavit, had sought time till September 5, citing complications. The BBMP’s affidavit was dismissed by the court. And on Tuesday, the division bench, headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, observed that by publishing the advertisement on August 13, the BBMP was contradicting court orders.

The BBMP has been under the scrutiny of the Karnataka HC since August 1 while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to illegal flex banners defacing the city. The court had ordered the BBMP Commissioner to personally oversee the removal of flexes, which otherwise were omnipresent in the city’s street.

 A city resident also sought the court’s direction for a stringent framework to curb the menace, given that the existing laws make it ambiguous regarding compliance and enforcement.

 Iinstantly, all zonal commissioners and additional commissioners in the city swung to action and started removing illegal flexes. By August 13, BBMP told the court that close to 22,000 flex banners had been removed by the authorities.

In subsequent hearings, the HC also rapped the Urban Development department over the delay in forming advertisement by-laws, and even the Chief Secretary was “held responsible”.

Even the city police commissioner T Suneel Kumar was summoned by the court for failing to provide adequate security to BBMP staff, who were attacked by a group of men for removing hoardings in Ramamurthy Nagar.

According to a 2016 notification by the state government, flexes are illegal since it has banned plastic. Despite this, flexes are routinely seen in several parts of Bengaluru, especially those put up by politicians.

Additionally, two laws — The Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act), 1981 and The Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964 — too deem most of the flexes illegal.


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