The Magistrate’s Court has also been asked to conduct daily hearings in all the related cases and deliver a verdict by the end of the month.

Make Bengaluru flex free by Independence Day Karnataka HC tells BBMPImage for representation
news Civic issues Friday, August 10, 2018 - 17:06

This Independence Day, Bengaluru may finally get independence from illegal flex banners, buntings and posters. The Karnataka High Court in its continued strong stance against the flex menace in the city has given Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) a deadline of August 14 as it has cracked the whip on this matter.

The Magistrate’s Court has also been asked to conduct daily hearings in all the related cases and deliver a verdict by the end of the month.

On Friday, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad appeared in the court again after, on August 1, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari had asked him to ensure removal of all flex banners in the city by that afternoon.

In a previous hearing on the matter, even the City Police Commissioner was summoned by the court in relation to four BBMP staff being assaulted on August 2 in Ramamurthy Nagar Police Station limits as they were removing banners. The court contended that the police had failed to protect the BBMP workers in carrying out the court orders.

The City Police Commissioner was asked to personally oversee the investigations and file a chargesheet within two days.

The usually reluctant BBMP has since been proactive on the matter.

Within just four hours of the court’s direction, BBMP Commissioner said that they had pulled down 19,000 banners.

In advertisements published in various dailies, the Commissioner has also sought help from resident welfare organisations and non-governmental organisations to make the city “flex-fee, poster-free and plastic-free.” Citizens have also been urged to call the BBMP control room numbers to register complaints.

Following the HC’s orders, politicians including the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister have asked their supporters to refrain from using flexes.

Flex banners are illegal as per a 2016 notification by the state government which imposed a blanket ban on plastic, but until now flexes are being put up across the city mostly by politicians.

Other than the plastic ban, the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act), 1981 and The Karnataka Municipalities Act 1964 also deem flex banners as illegal but there was hardly any enforcement.

The flexes are not only an eyesore but also impact the environment as they are not biodegradable and end up blocking stormwater and sewage drains.

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