The Delhi High court issued notice to MCDs to immediately remove illegal billboards, hoardings and posters.
Concerned over billboards, hoardings and posters, both political and commercial, being put up across the city in “gross violation” of outdoor advertising policy, Delhi High Court today directed municipal authorities to immediately remove such illegal structures.
A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva observed that “there appears to be prima facie evidence of violation” of the 2007 Outdoor Advertising Policy and the 2009 Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act.
The court issued notices to the municipal corporations of east, north and south Delhi, the New Delhi Municipal Council, Delhi Cantonment Board, city government and the police seeking their replies on whether the policy and Act were being implemented in “letter and spirit”.
“It is prima facie evident that there is gross violation of the policy and the Act. We need to see some action in implementation of the policy and Act. The respondents (Delhi government and other authorities) shall act immediately and remove illegal hoardings,billboards, posters which have been put up in violation of the policy and Act,” the court said.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Colonel (retd) Shivraj Kumar, a 83-year-old resident of the city, who has contended that advertisement hoardings, banners, posters and billboards, of any size, are being put up on residential buildings in violation of the policy and Act.
In his plea filed through advocate Shadan Farasat, Kumar has sought removal of the illegal hoardings and posters, saying “they deface the skyline, buildings and walls of the city and are a constant threat to pedestrian and traffic safety”.
During the proceedings, the court observed that there is a “clear” and “rampant” violation of the policy and asked the municipal bodies what its officials were doing “other than littering the streets”.
“Every rooftop hoarding appears to be a violation. What are you (municipalities) doing ? What is your answer?” the court asked.
It also observed, “Everything is a mafia. You (authorities) only nurture them and then it becomes too big for you to handle. Violations happening day in and day and you are not doing anything. Wonder when the country will be rid of corruption.”
The municipal bodies admitted the policy and Act are being violated by private contractors but said they are carrying out periodic inspection and removing the illegal hoardings.
“We are not turning a blind eye,” the municipal bodies said.
The authorities claimed that action on their part fails to curb the illegal installation of hoardings as the private contractors lobby has strong political backing.
The petition has alleged that the hoardings or billboards are installed in public spaces or private buildings and in some cases are hanging down dangerously from homes and flats.
“Not only are they completely unauthorised and generate illegal profits and in many cases they are immensely hazardous to the public.
“They are completely unregulated in respect of their size and structure and are thus, a grave danger to surrounding areas,” the petition has alleged.
It has also claimed that the hoardings are using “illegal electricity connections”.