The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted the environment pollution authority’s new outdoor advertisement policy aimed at curbing illegal hoardings and giving Delhi an aesthetic look while ensuring safety of road commuters.
A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed expeditious implementation of the new policy framed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) which has put a ban on advertisements which distracted road commuters by promoting “nudity, racism, drugs, cruelty to animals or any kind of violence”.
It also noted the submissions of the amicus curiae, who assisted the court, that the hoardings on railway bridges, flyovers and foot-over-bridges should be handled with utmost care and all efforts must be made to avoid visual clutter and ensure safety of the people as well as aesthetics. With regard to the objections raised by Delhi Outdoor Advertisers Association to the policy, the bench allowed them to make a representation to the authorities concerned.
The court accepted the EPCA’s report which said that the city must have an approved policy for outdoor advertisements as lack of such a policy or the lack of clarity led to huge irregularities and loss of revenue for the municipal agencies and caused problems of safety in the city. Under the 2017 policy, advertisements will not be allowed in the national parks, historical monuments, world heritage areas and religious places. “The sign boards should be non-reflective such that they do not flash or glare at drivers on the streets. They should not use reflective surfaces as mirror foils as the use of such material is visually disruptive to traffic and can be hazardous to drivers,” it said.
The court also said that no advertisement shall be erected, exhibited, fixed or retained “upon or over any land, building, wall, hoarding, frame, post or structure or upon or in any vehicle or shall be displayed within the jurisdiction of municipal corporations of Delhi or the New Delhi Municipal Council without written permission of the commissioner or the chairman of respective body”.