Thanks to the judiciary, Bengaluru may finally be stripped off the illegal yet omnipresent flex banners across the city.
Cracking down on hundreds of hoardings cropping up across Bengaluru, whether for elections or a politician’s birthday, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordered the city’s civic body to remove all flex banners by this afternoon. The order was passed by a division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in a failed bid to curb the menace has previously closed some manufacturing units. Besides being an eyesore, flexes are bad for the environment, given that they are non-biodegradable like plastic and they end up blocking stormwater drains causing flooding in the city.
Following the court order, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad had issued directions to all zonal commissioners and additional zonal commissioners to hit the ground on a war footing.
Ashok Patil, Additional Zonal Commissioner of East Zone, BBMP confirmed to TNM that officials will comply by the court’s directives.
“We are on the job and will remove all flex banners,” he said.
The Karnataka HC was hearing a petition filed by a city resident, who has sought the courts direction for stringent framework to curb the menace given existing laws make it ambiguous regarding compliance and enforcement.
The Karnataka HC in January had reiterated that flexes to fall under the ambit of plastic ban as mentioned in a 2016 government notification. Following that BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad had told TNM that notices were sent to manufacturers and printing presses.
But the Karnataka Association of Signage Industry had gone to the National Green Tribunal to counter the ban and got a relatively favourable observation.
Taking note of the fact that there is minimum content of plastic component in flex, apart from chemicals, it is for the State Government to consider whether flex can be exempted in the event of the appellant-Association in Appeal No.125 of 2016 giving categoric assurance by way of affidavit to the Government that all the used flex materials which are traded in the State of Karnataka by the members of the appellant-Association will be recycled and based on the appellant’s assurance that no flex will be left uncollected and thrown out after use,” the NGT had said
Other than these two laws deem most flexes illegal—- The Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act), 1981 and The Karnataka Municipalities Act 1964.