HC unhappy with city police over illegal hoardings

They have not completed investigation in 258 cases

December 12, 2018 09:41 pm | Updated 09:41 pm IST

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday expressed serious displeasure with the city police for not completing investigation in 258 criminal cases booked since August 11 this year against several persons for putting up banners, flexes, hoardings illegally in violation of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice S. Sujatha cautioned that it may have to call the police commissioner if the investigations are not completed at the earliest while stating that the court expects the probe in all the 258 cases has to be completed by the next date of hearing, on December 17.

The court made these observations after going through the data submitted by the police on the status of the cases registered under the anti-disfigurement law after August 11.

As per the data, 480 cases were registered against 428 accused between August 11 and December 7, 2018. Of these, 258 are still under investigation while 190 cases in which charge sheets were filed are pending trial in the jurisdictional courts. In 29 cases, the accused were convicted after trial. In three cases, ‘B’ reports have been filed.

As many as 432 cases related to hoardings, flexes or banners put up by shops, paying guest homes, schools, colleges, hotels and others, while 48 cases were booked against companies and printing presses, the police stated.

Apart from these 480 cases, around 230 cases which were booked on a fast track basis between August 4 and 10 after the court asked the police to book cases against illegal structure by keeping a vigil using surveillance cameras and mobile patrolling vehicles. In these 230 cases, the charge sheets were filed within a week and in a majority, the accused had pleaded guilty in the trial court.

Noticing that some cases are pending for investigation since September, the bench said that it is a serious fault on the part of the police, and this kind of conduct may require the court to summon the police commissioner.

Meanwhile, the court asked the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to file its response to the affidavits filed by various advertising agencies providing samples of cloth to be used for displaying advertisements in lieu of banned flex/plastic materials based on the chemical analysis reports secured by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board from the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Chennai on the cloth samples.

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