CASE TITLE: HM Venkatesh v. State of Karnataka

The Karnataka High Court recently urged the state government to guarantee that no political functionaries or leaders’ display boards or unapproved advertisements/hoardings are shown in public.

“The respondent State is directed to ensure that no display boards, unlawful ads, or hoardings are displayed in public places or in relation to various Government projects in the future. The Government is directed to take fast action in this case in light of the Circular and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in W.P.(Civil) Nos.13/2003, 197/2004, and 302/2012 (Common Cause vs. Union of India) “, directed the former Acting Chief Justice’s Bench Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum.

The Supreme Court limited the publication of images and advertising portraying government workers and political figures in the case of Common Cause.

The High Court’s order was issued in response to a petition filed by one HM Venkatesh. During the hearing of this petition, the Bench was informed that the State has already taken numerous steps to comply with the aforementioned directions.

The Karnataka government, the Urban Development Department, and other statutory authorities in the state, including the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), were given instructions to remove all such unapproved hoardings at a meeting presided over by the Secretary, the Court was told.

The Court was also informed of a circular sent in August of this year to all local governments directing them to remove images of people’s representatives from public locations. Taking note of the State government’s actions, the Court stated in dismissing the petition,

“In view of the State Government’s compliance report and the action that has already been initiated, no more directions are required in the current PIL.”

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