Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Devan Ramachandran J., ordered for the removal of all unauthorised advertisement boards, billboards, flex boards, banners and flags by the 30th of October. He also directed that the secretaries of the various local self-government institutions and the concerned field staff be made personally responsible for the implementation of the order. Furthermore, he directed that if the boards were not removed by the 30th of October, then the penalty to be paid, the tariff for the advertisement and the other charges for the removal would be charged personally from the secretary of the various local self-government and the concerned field staff.
It was also directed by the Court that any new advertisement boards, banners or flags which came up after 30th October, which were unauthorised, would also be removed and the Secretary of the Local Self Governments and the concerned field staff were responsible for ensuring this direction as well. The Court also stated that it was immaterial whether the advertisement, banner, board etc. was of a political party or of a film. It had to be removed in furtherance of the order of the Court.
Upon the advice of the Amicus Curiae, the Single Judge Bench also ruled that, under the relevant provisions of the Road Safety Act, the District Collectors and the District Superintendents of Police were also mandated to ensure that any unauthorised boards and hoardings were removed. Subsequently, directions were given to the Principal Secretary of the Local Self Government Institutions, Government of Kerala, to instruct all the District Collectors and the District Superintendents of Police about their duties under the Road Safety Act and ensure the implementation of the Court’s order.
The Court also stated that two nodal officers had been appointed, one for corporations and one for the Local Self Government Institutions, to ensure that citizens were given a platform to complain about the inactivity of these entities. [St. Stephen’s Malankara Catholic Church v. State of Kerala, WP(C) Nos. 22750 and 22784 of 2018, Order dated 23-10-2018]