Karnataka

‘Enforce anti-disfigurement law to check illegal hoardings across State’

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HC: Police should register FIR on complaints by officials of civic bodies

The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the State government to immediately issue necessary instructions empowering all city corporations, municipalities, and other local authorities to take action under the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981, against illegal advertisements, flexes, banners, hoardings, etc.

Also, the court directed the government to issue instructions to the Police Department to ensure that the police across the State register First Information Report (FIR) under Section 3 and 7 of KOPD Act on receipt of complaints from the officers of the city corporations, municipalities, and other local authorities.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur issued the interim directions during the hearing of PIL petitions related to the menace of illegal advertisement hoardings, banners, flexes, etc in Bengaluru city.

The Bench noticed that the KOPD Act was made applicable only to cities of Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Mangaluru and Belagavi with effect from May 5, 1981, and applicability of this law to other city corporations, municipalities and other areas was required to be notified separately, and hence directed the government to issue necessary communications in this regard immediately.

BBMP to conduct survey

Meanwhile, the Bench directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to survey illegal advertisements put up in violation of the provisions of the KOPD Act and the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act, 1976, and submit a report to the court by December 13.

The Bench observed that the task of identifying and removing illegal hoardings is continuous and the police will have to assist the BBMP in this.

Observing that it is always open to the citizens to lodge complaints about illegal advertisements, hoardings, banners, and flexes, with the BBMP, the Bench said when such complaints were received from the citizens it is the duty on the part of the BBMP officers to immediately verify the complaint and lodge FIR with the jurisdictional police under the KPOD Act if the advertisements or structures put up are unauthorised ones. Besides, the officials will have to initiate action under the provisions of the KMC Act for removal of such illegal advertisements and structures.

Advertisements & structures

While interpreting the provisions of the KMC Act, the Bench said the BBMP and city corporations should take action under Section 138 (removal of unauthorised advertisements) of the KMC Act for removal of illegal advertisements but such action should be taken only after issuing show-cause notice to the persons or agencies concerned.

However, for removing the structures put up illegally, the court said the BBMP and other city corporations will have to take action under Section 321 (power to demolish illegal constructions) of the KMC Act as such structures come under the definition of word “building”.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 3:20:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/enforce-anti-disfigurement-law-to-check-illegal-hoardings-across-state/article30054879.ece

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