Panchayats now will have to follow bylaws to grant licences for hoardings
The State government on Thursday informed the Karnataka High Court that it had removed 157 mega-sized hoardings erected by advertisement agencies on either side of the national highway leading to the Bengaluru International Airport. The agencies had obtained licences from six different gram panchayats (GPs) on the city’s outskirts.
In the action taken report submitted to the court, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department Principal Secretary E.V. Rama Reddy stated that though the GPs had issued licences for 66 hoardings, they had no validity in law as the GPs had no such authority in the absence of bylaws as per the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act.
Justice Ram Mohan Reddy had sought a report on hoardings put on either side of the highway in connection with a petition filed by one of the advertising agencies.
Government counsel N.B. Vishwanath told the court there were 191 hoardings put up by obtaining licences from Hunasamaranahalli, Sonnappanahalli, Doddajala, Chikkajala, Anneshwara, and Kannamangala GPs. He also said the authorities could not remove 34 hoardings as the Devanahalli civil court had restrained them following pleas of some advertisement agencies.
Meanwhile, the action taken report also stated that none of the gram panchayats had come out with bylaws to issue licences and for this purpose the State government had, on February 18, 2013, notified in the official gazette a model bylaw called the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Grama Panchayat Control over Erection of Advertisement Hoardings) (Model Bylaw) 2012.
The report stated that from now on all GPs across the State will have to grant licences for advertisement hoardings as per the norms set out in the bylaw.
Following this, the court directed the government to initiate action to dispose of the cases pending before the Devanahalli court.