Bengaluru: Hoardings and outdoor advertisements will be back in Bengaluru. The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday quashed a BBMP resolution, passed on August 6, 2018, banning outdoor advertisements for one year.
Several advertisement agencies, which had enrolled with the BBMP under the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 and the Advertisement Bye-laws of 2006, had approached the court against the Palike resolution.
Questioning the legality of the resolution, they argued that they make a living out of commercial advertising and there are several employees whose livelihood too depends on this business.
The court, before quashing the resolution, said in a detailed order that the Palike has no powers to pass a resolution contrary to the procedure and substantive law laid out under the Act and Advertisements Bye-Law, 2006.
The BBMP advocate pointed out that the resolution pertained only to unauthorised and illegal advertisements and did not in any way prohibit or regulate advertisements that were legal. In its order, the high court, however, made it clear that such a submission cannot be accepted as the BBMP in its statement of objections filed on January 30, 2019 made it evident that the resolution has been construed by the BBMP itself as imposing a complete ban.
The resolution claimed that the restrictions were placed on the grounds of beauty of the city, environmental pollution and increasing road accidents. But no other material has been placed making out the grounds for imposing restrictions on the right of the petitioners, the court stated.
Implementation of a new set of advertisement bye-laws and transition from the current legal framework is one that must be resorted to without infringing on the legal rights of the petitioners, the court said, adding that the manner in which it is to be done falls in the domain of the BBMP.
"It cannot be that the fundamental rights of the petitioners as well as the rights that flow from the statute and existing Advertisement Bye Laws 2006 could be kept in abeyance till new advertisement bye-laws are framed and brought into force. Such action of keeping vested rights in abeyance in the transitionary phase in the manner as resorted to herein by the BBMP would amount to an arbitrary exercise of power," the court observed.
On the question whether there could be a prohibition of advertisement as contemplated under the existing legal framework till new advertisement bye-laws are brought into force, all that could be said is that the existing statutory provisions and the Bye-laws 2006 contemplate and provide for the above legal contingency and the Palike is to exercise power conferred under the Act strictly in the manner as contemplated and not as exercised, it ruled.
The court stated that the order should not to be construed as fettering the rights of BBMP to initiate action against illegal advertisements as permissible under the Act and Advertisement Bye-laws 2006....