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File No.

MAU02-12036/36/2018-M SEC-CDMA

GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH


MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT

O/o. the Director of Municipal Admn.,


Andhra Pradesh, GUNTUR.

Roc.No.12036/36/2018-M3, Dated 12/04/2019

CIRCULAR

Sub: Suits - AP High Court – Writ Petition (PIL) No.365/2018 filed


by Sri Murali Krishna, Gudivada – Against the inaction for
removal of flexi boards/banners/cut outs, etc. erected
unauthorizedly in Gudivada Municipality – Orders issued by
the Hon`ble High Court of AP - Communicated – Taking
necessary immediate action – Instructions- Issued - Reg.

Ref: 1. Hon`ble High Court orders, dated 25-03-2015, issued in


WP No.28447/2008.
2. Govt Memo No.1786/A1/2015, MA&UD, dated
31-03-2015.
3. T/o. Circular Roc.No.1481/2015-M3, dated 02-04-2015.
4. Orders, dated 24-02-2019, issued by the Hon`ble High
Court of Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada, in WP (PIL)
No.365/2018.
<<>>

The attention of the Commissioners of all the Urban Local Bodies in


the State is invited to the references cited.

2. It is informed that, previously, in pursuance of the orders issued by


the Hon`ble High Court, vide reference 1 st cited, instructions were issued to
removal of unauthorized flexi boards, cut outs, banners, posters, etc., in all the
Urban Local Bodies of the State vide reference 3 rd cited.

3. It is further informed that the Hon`ble High Court of AP, Vijayawada,


has issued orders, vide reference 4 th cited, with certain directions on removal of
unauthorized flexi boards/banners/cut outs, etc., erected in Gudivada
Municipality. (copy of the reference 4 th cited enclosed herewith).

4. Therefore, the Commissioners of all the Urban Local Bodies in the


State are hereby directed to go through the orders issued by the Hon`ble High
Court of AP, vide reference 4 th cited, and take necessary steps immediately for
removal of the unauthorized flexi boards/banners/cut outs, etc., erected in the
ULBs by constituting Teams.

5. All the Regional Director-cum-Appellate Commissioners of Municipal


Administration in the State are requested to pursue the matter with the
Commissioners of the ULBs of their respective Regions and issue further
instructions from time to time.
File No.MAU02-12036/36/2018-M SEC-CDMA

Director
Encl: As above.

To
The Commissioners of all the Urban Local Bodies in the State.
All the Regional Director-cum-Appellate Commissioners of Municipal
Administration in the State.
Copy submitted to the Principal Secretary to Govt., MA&UD Dept., Govt. of AP,
Velagapudi, for kind information.

Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by K Kanna


Babu
Date: 2019.04.12 17:17:55 IST
Reason: Approved
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IN THE HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH


(Special Original Jurisdiction) IlfJf:tI!fJ\
THURSDAY ,THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF FEBRUAr{It;(.~1:;'~"~).)~"
TWO THOUSAND AND NINETEEN 1'';; :"'~ ~~
,,; \\;~:, ': 'IIJ/.h
7l }j~1
;.:t <'.:.); "(I.' J r:::;
__ .~ /1»
PRESENT \~,}::; t :~.;~:'.;j !\Cj ~
~',N -!<: ...:::h

THE HONOURABLE THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE C.PRAVEEN K ".


~~ AND
, . ,\~'\.THE HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICE M.SATYANARAYANA MURTHY

~ \ WRIT PETITION (Pill NO: 365 OF 2018

Between,:

Y.V. Murali Krishna, S/o Late Seetharamaiah Aged 55 years Occ business
RIo H.No.9/386-D1 Sharada Residency Shanti nagar, Gudiwada, Krishna District
521301

... PETITIONER
AND

1. The State of Andhra Pradesh" rep. by its Principal Secretary Municipal


Administration and Urban Development Department, Secretariat, at Velagapudi,
Amaravathi, Guntur District.

«
2. The Director of Municipal Administration" Sri Krishna Enclave, Gorantla, Guntur,
Guntur District.
3. The District Collector" Krishna.
4. The Gudiwada Municipality" Rep. by its Commissioner, Gudiwada, Krishna
District.
5. The Deputy Superintendent of Police" Gudiwada Division, Gudiwada, Krishna
District
6, The Andhra Pradesh, Pollution Control Board, represented by its.Member
Secretary, Andhra Pradesh.
(RR6 is Suo Moto impleaded as per Court Order dated 04/12/2018 in WP. PIL.
365/2018.)

.•. RESPONDENTS

Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying that in the
circumstances stated in the affidavit filed therewith, the High Court may be pleased to
issue writ or direction preferably Writ of Mandamus declaring the inaction of the
respondents in taking appropriate steps for ensuring that no unauthorized cut outs,
flexi boards, banners and posters are displayed on the main roads and main circles
and also for immediate removal of the unauthorized flexi boards/cut outs that have
been erected within the Gualwada MUniCipal limits as Illegal, arbitrary and violative of
the orders of this Hon'ble High Court in W.P. NO.28447/2008 dt.1-6-2015 and
consequently direct the respondents to take immediate steps for removal of the
unauthorized flexi boards/cut outs.

IA NO: 1 OF 2018

Petition under Section 151 CPC praying that in the circumstances stated in the
affidavit filed in support of the petition, the High Court may be pleased to direct the
respondent nos. 2 to 5 to forthwith remove the unauthorized flexi boards/cut outs that
have been erected on the main roads and main circles of Gudiwada Municipality
pending disposal-of the Writ Petition (PIL) in the interest of Justice.
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Counsel for the Petitioner:SRI. MOHAMMED GAYASUDDIN .,

Counsel for the Respondent Nos. 1 & 2: GP FOR' MUNCIPAL ADMN. & URBAN
DEV.

Counsel for the Respondent No.3: GP FOR REVENUE

Counsel for the Respondent No.4: SRI. NIMMAGADDA VENKA TESWARLU, SC


FOR MUNICIPALITY

Counsel for the Respondent No.5: GP FOR HOME

Counsel for the Respondent No.6: SRI. RAMACHANDRA RAO GURRAM, SC FOR
A.P. POLUTION BOARD

The Court made the following: ORDER


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THE HON'BLE THE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE C. PRAVEEN KUMAR

AND

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE M. SATYANARAYANA MURTHY

WRIT PETITION (PILl No.365 OF 201.8

ORDER: (Per Honble Sri Justice M. Salyanarayana Murthy)

Srt Y.V. Murali Krishna, a public spirited person filed this pro

bono litigation under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to

declare the inaction of the respondents in taking appropriate steps for

ensuring that no unauthorized cutouts. flexi boards, banners and

posters are displayed on the main roads and main circles and

immediate removal of the unauthorized flexi boards/cut outs that

have been erected within the Gudiwada Municipal limits as illegal and

arbitrary and violative of directions issued by the High Court of

Judicature at Hyderabad in W.P.No.28447 of 2008 dated 01.06.2015,

issue direction to remove such flex boards etc.

The facts in brief are that, the petitioner is a resident of

Gudiwada Town. Krishna District, he alleged that, in the recent past,

hundreds of unauthorized flexi boards/banners are being erected on

the main roads of Gudiwada Town. It is submitted that the dividers

on the main road. main circles and cross roads are being flooded with

unauthorized flexi boards and banners purportedly to which

celebrities/politicians on their birthday/festival days etc. Recently

several flexi boards/banners have rnushroomed at the main circles of

Gudiwada Town i.e. Koganti Rajababaiah Chowk, Nehru Chowk.

Vasavi Chowk. Mudedla Rama Rao Chowk. Market Centre, Gowri

Shankar Talkies Centre. Kothi Bomma Centre and Vegetable Market

Centre. to convey birthday wishes to the Chairman of the Gudiwada


"- .......
Municipality. It is also contended that, earlier plantations have been

'_"'"
---
-- ---.-~-
..
2 HACJ & MSM.J 7
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raised on the dividers on the main roads but recently banners have

been affixed even to the plants and due to the use of binding wires for

tying the banners, the plantation is being destroyed. Immediately, the

petitioner submitted a representation dated 23.11.201B to the

Municipal Commissioner, requesting the officers to immediately

remove the unauthorized flexi boards, etc., as they are causing

inconvenience to the public commuting on the roads and also posing

serious traffic hazards. The petitioner protested before the offices of

the respondents, in order to sensitize them to remove the flexi boards

and also submitted another representation dated 2B.l1.201B to the

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Gudiwada in this regard and also

sent whatsapp messages to the Director, Municipal Administration,

but, no positive steps have been taken till date for removal of the

same.

In W.P.No.2B447 of 200B, High Court of Judicature at

Hyderabad had taken a serious view of the unregulated erection of

unauthorized flext boards across the two States of Andhra Pradesh

and Telangana and had issues specific direction to the authorities to

ensure that no unauthorized cutouts, flexi boards, banners and

posters are displayed and that, if any complaint is made by any of the

citizens in this regard, the authortttes are directed to take immediate

action for removal of those unauthorized erections. Insptte of the

directions issued by the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, the

respondents remained as mute spectators on account of their

patronage with highly placed persons in politics and therefore,

..
inaction of the respondents is questioned and sought a direction
stated supra.
8
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3
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:'
TI1.e4th respondent/Gudiwada Municipality, represented by its

Commissioner filed counter. denying material allegations, inter alia

contending that the 4U1 respondent is taking steps to remove

unauthorized flexes/banners erected in the main roads in Gudiwada

Municipality and also removed unauthorized cutouts in Gudiwada

Munciipality. It is also submitted that. the Municipality initiated

action to remove the banners and flexes when it noticed that some

personnel erected banners and flexes without obtaining permissions

from the municipality for birthday celebration function of M.L.A

Gudivada and thereafter, removed the banners/flexes pursuant to the

orders of High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad in W.P.No.2B447 of

2018. It is submitted that, banners /flext boards have been removed

at Koganti Rajababaiah Chowk, Nehru Chowk, Vasavi Chowk, Gowri

Talkies Centre and the Municipality is initiating action to remove the

unauthorized boards/banners/flexes at Mudedla Rama Rao Chowk,

Market Centre, Kothi Bomma Centre and Vegetable Market Centre. as

the 4U1 respondent took action for removal of flexes/banners/cutouts.

no further direction need be issued to the respondents and prayed to

dismiss the writ petition.

The 4U1 respondent also filed additional counter. contending

that, as per the interim order dated IB,12.2018 of the Court in

W.P.(PIL)No.365 of 201B. the 4U1 respondent submitted a report to the

Chairman, Mandal Legal Services Authortty-cum-Xl Additional

District & Sessions Judge. Gudivada listing 25 flexi boards/banners

and posters on the main roads within the limits of Gudivada

Municipality. Basing on the above report, this Court directed the Sub-

Divisional Police Officer, Gudivada to remove the flexis in the centres

mentioned above and report compliance by 21.12.2018. Accordingly.

... _
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4 HACJ &. MSM.J 9
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA

three teams were formed to remove the unauthorized advertisement

boards, posters, banners and flexts and the three teams removed 309

unauthorized advertisement boards, posters. banners and flexis in

total, at various places of Gudivada Municipality. It is submitted by

the 4th respondent in the additional counter that, when the 4U1

respondent removed the unauthorized advertisement boards, posters,

banners and flexis and also proposed to take action against the

persons responsible for erection of those unauthorized advertisement

boards, posters, banners and flexls in contravention of the Rules.

Photographs pertaining to removal of unauthorized advertisement

boards, posters, banners and flexis. debris and solid waste are filed

along with the additional counter. Copy of proceedings of the

Municipal Commissioner, Gudivada dated 19.12.2018 and press note

are also annexed to the counter affidavit.

The petitioner filed reply to the counter & additional affidavit

reiterating the interim orders passed by the High Court of Judicature

on 18.12.2018, directing the 4th respondent and its officials to get the

list of details of all authorized and unauthorized flexis or any

advertisement, banners etc, erected in the town and further directed

to remove all the unauthorized ones and file compliance of their

actions taken by them on 21.12.2018, as such, the 4th respondent

filed additional counter on 27.12.2018 with details of action taken by

them in complying the orders of the Court. The petitioner submitted

in the reply affidavit stating that the respondents/authorities have

not completed the exercise and it is only name sake action, thereby,

the violators
.., are erecting the unauthorized flexts, banners in the town

again after removal of the same, thereby, the order issued by this

Court was not substantially complied with and no action has taken
/'

----
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,.,.
HACJ & MSM.J
5 WP(PILL365 0[2018

place for removal of flexis, banners, cutouts and no penalty was

imposed as per Rule 20 of the Advertisement Tax and Regulation of

Advertisements in Municipalities Rules, 1967 (henceforth 'the Rules').

and requested this Court to take appropriate steps for levying fine

under Rule 20 of the Rules and also requested to take necessary

action for treatment of solid waste.

During hearing, leamed counsel for the petitioner fairly

conceded that, most of the banners/flexis are removed at the relevant

centres as alleged in the petition. But, no action was taken for

imposing penalty against the persons who erected the

banners/cutouts, flexis etc, strictly adhering to Rule 20 of the Rules

framed thereunder. A report submitted to Chairman, Mandal Legal

Services Authority-cum-XI Additional District & Sessions Judge,

Gudivada is also supporting the same, including the photographs

produced before this Court. Therefore, there is substantial compliance

of interim direction issued by this Court and the

respondents/authorities at relevant centres complained in the writ

petition.

Section 35 of the Andhra Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1965 (,Act'

for short) deals with vesting of public streets and appurtenances in

the council and according to it, (1) All public streets in any

municipality with the pavements, stones and other materials thereof

and all works, materials and other things provided for such streets,

all sewers, drains, drainage works, tunnels and culverts, whether

made at the cost of the municipal fund or otherwise, in, along-Side or

under any' street.. wh~ther public or private, and all works, materials

and things appertaining thereto shall vest in the council. (2) The

Government may, after consultation with the council, by notificat=--io=-=n~


__
6 HACJ & MSM.J 11
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA

in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette. withdraw any such street. sewer,

drain. drainage work. tunnel or culvert from the control of the


council.

According to Section 37 of the Act, on and from the date of the

commencement of the Act, all vacant lands belonging to or under the

control of the Government situated within the local limits of a

municipality shall, subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2) and (3)

and to such conditions as may be prescribed, be deemed to be in the

possession or under the control of the council concerned for purposes

of this Act. For the purpose of this section "vacant land" includes a

poramboke. donka or kunta. The council shall keep all such vacant

lands free from encumbrances and shall restore the possession or

control of any such land to the Government free of cost whenever it is

required by the Government for their use for any public purpose or for

purpose of alienation to any person or local authority. The council

shall not (a) construct or permit the construction of any building or

other structure on any such vacant land: (b) use or permit the use of

such vacant land for any permanent purpose; (c) alienate such vacant

land to any third party, unless the prior permission of the

Government is obtained by the council therefor, after furnishing such

information as the Government may require, including the usefulness

of the land or any housing scheme.;

Thus. the public streets and appurtenances, including vacant

land belonging to the government situated in the Municipal area are

deemed to have vested in the Municipality. Similarly, the vacant lands

belonging to the goverrfment situated within the municipality to be in

possesston and control of the Munictpality.

------ -_. .---


12
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7 HACJ & MSM.J
WP(PIL)_3650[2018

f
.I

The main circles of Gudiwada Town i.e. Koganti Rajababaiah

Chowk, Nehru Chowk, Vasavi Chowk. Mudedla Rama Rao Chowk,

Market Centre, Gowri Talkies Centre, Kothi Bomma Centre and

Vegetable Market Centre, referred in the petition are already vested in

the Municipality in terms of Section 35 of the Act and at the same

time, Municipality is maintaining the streets for the use of public.

Section 114 of the Act deals with Tax on advertisements,

According to it, every person who erects, exhibits. fixes, or retains

upon or over. any land, building. wall, hoarding or structure, any

advertisement or who displays any advertisement to public view in

any manner whatsoever, in any place whether public or private, shall

pay on every advertisement which is so erected, exhibited. fixed.

retained or displayed to public view. a tax calculated at such rates

and in such manner and subject to such exemptions as the council

may, with the approval of the Govemment, by resolution determine:

Provided that the rates shall be subject to the maximum and

minimum laid down by the Govemment in this behalf: Provided

further that no tax shall be levied under this section on any

advertisement or a notice-

(a) of a public meeting; or

(b) of an election to any legislative body or to the council; or

(c) of a candidature in respect of such an election: Provided also that

no such tax shall be levied on any advertisement which is not a sky-

sign and which-

(a) is exhibited within the window of any building; or

-~-.~---..;_.-- "
8 HACJ & MSM,J 13
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(b) relates to the trade or business carried on within the land or

building upon or over which such advertisement is exhibited or

to any sale, or letting of such land or building or any effects

therein or to any sale, entertainment or meeting to be held upon

or in the same; or

(c) relates to the name of the land or building upon or over

which the advertisement is exhibited or to the name of the

owner or occupier of such land or building; or

(d) relates to the business of any railway administration; or

(e) is exhibited within any railway station or upon any wall Of other

property of a railway administration except any portion of the surface

of such wall or property fronting any street

Therefore, advertisement to public can be erected with the

permission of the municipality. Advertisements can be made either on

private buildings or on the roads. But, permission for advertisement is

mandatory under Section 115 of the Act to erect such advertisements.

In certain circumstances, permission granted by the Commissioner

under Section 115 of the Act shall become void in the followingcases:

(a) if the advertisement contravenes any bye-law made by the council

under clause (30) of Section 330;

(b) if any addition to the advertisement be made except for the

purpose of making it secure under the direction of Municipal

Engineer, or the Commissioner;

(c) if any matertal change be made in the advertisement or any part

thereof;
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9 HACJ& MSM.J
WP(PILL365 of 2018

1
(d) if the advertisement or any part thereof falls otherwise than

through accident;

(e) if any addition or alteration be made to or in the building, wall or

structure upon or over which the advertisement is erected, exhibited,

fixed or retained, if such addition or alteration involves the

disturbance of the advertisement or any part thereof; and

(1) if the building, wallar structure upon or over which the

advertisement is erected, exhibited, fixed or retained, be demolished

or destroyed.

The dispute before us is with regard to removal of unauthorized

advertisements, banners, flexts, cutouts etc.

Section 118 of the Act deals with removal of unauthorized

advertisements and according to Section 118 of the Act, if any

advertisement is erected, exhibited, fixed or retained contrary to the

provisions of Section 114 OF Section 115 or after the written

permission for the erection, exhibition, fixation or retention thereof for

any period has expired or become void. the Commissioner may, by

notice in wrtting require the owner or occupier of the land, building,

wall hoarding or structure upon or over which the same is erected,

exhibited, fixed or retained, to take down or remove such

advertisement or may enter any building, land or property and have

the advertisement removed, and the costs thereof shall be recoverable

in the same manner as property tax.

In pursuance of Sections 114 to 118 of the Act, Govemment of


""
Andhra Pradesh framed the Andhra Pradesh MuniCipalities

(Advertisement Tax) Rules, 1967 (for short 'the Rules'). prescribing

Collection of Advertisement Tax and Regulation of Advertisements in


10 HACJ & MSM,J 15
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Municipalities [vide G.O.Ms.No.472 Municipal Administration dated

24.07.1967 and G.O.Ms.No.899 M.A. dated 26.11.1969]. Part-I Rule

3 articulates Tax on Advertisements. These Rules fixed certain

guidelines for collection of Advertisement Tax and regulating

advertisements in Municipalities.

Part-Il of the Rules deals with Prohibition and Regulation of

Advertisements, consisting of Rules 10 to 20.

Rule 10 permits places for erecting etc., of advertisements and

according to it, the council may, by notification:- (a) prohibit the

erection, exhibition, fixation, retention of display of all or any class of

advertisements in or around any street, heavy traffic points or

important road junctions or public parks or part thereof, in any place

of public resort, place of workshop, historic public buildings including

monuments and in purely residential localities; and (b) regulate the

erection, exhtbttion, fixation, retention for display-of advertisement in

any manner in non-prohibited areas.

Rule 11 deals with Advertisement, Hoarding, Cinema and Poster

Boards and according to it, (1) Once a regulated hoarding has been

allowed at any of the approved sites, all subsequent advertisements

shall be required to conform thereto in the matter of size, position

alignment, etc., of their hoardings. (2) The permissible sizes of each

hoarding shall be as under: Size of hoardings (in Metres) Nature of

election (i) 10 x 4 (tf) 6 x 3 (iii) 4.5 x 2.5 To be erected in horizontal

length and verticle height (iv)4 x 2.5 (v)3 x 2 (vi) 2.5 x 2 provided that

no hoardings of different sizes shall be allowed at anyone place. (3)


'"
The lower base or the bottom of a hoarding at an approved site shall

be at a height of not less than 2.44 metres from the surface of the

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11 WP(PIL)_365 of 2018

I
/

ground below it and it shall be in correct alignment with the other

approved hoardings, if any, preViously put up on the site. (4) The

supports of all such hoardings shall be of steel or other metal of

sound quality timber of about 11.1 11.1 cm. thickness firmly

embedded in the ground and suitably painted. (5) Before an

advertisement hoarding is permitted to be erected at an approved site,

the advertiser shall be required to submit to the Commissioner, a

copy of the design showing the sizes, dimensions, etc., of the hoarding

and supports, and the design and colour scheme of the matter to be

advertised and no advertisement shall be allowed if is not in harmony

with the background or offends good taste, public moral etc.

Rule 12 deals with Sign or Signboards. According to it,

(1) No person shall without or otherwise. than in conformity with the

terms of a permission granted by the Commissioner retain, place, pot

up or fixed or cause or permit to be retained, placed, put up or fixed

any sign or signboard, projecting in, on. over or across a public street

or any public place.

(2) No sign or signboard shall be retained. placed. put up, fixed, hung

or caused or permitted to be retained. placed, put up, fixed or hung:

(a) so as to project in. on, over or across a public street which is

not more than 41/2 metres wide or which has no foot path or

drain or aquaduct under the projection: Provided that sign and

signboards against the face of a building in a portion included

to the face may be allowed if they do not project more than 15

em. into the street and are atleast 2.44 metres above the metres

above the street level, or at such height as the Commissioner

may from time'"'-to trne prescribe; or


HAC,)& MSM.J 17
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(b) on, or to or against a projecting. or support varandah over a

public street so as to project, in, over or across such street

beyond the footpath appertaining thereto.

Rule 13 dealt with Sky-signs:

(1) The Commissioner may remove any sky-sign or advertisement or

order to shift to another site if. in his opinion, such a course is

needed to ensure public safety or convenience.

(2) No sky-sign or advertisement, frame, for other contrivance securely

fixed to or one the cornice or block course of any wall or to the ridge

of a roof or to the screen shall project behind 0.91 metres into the

street.

Rule 14 dealt with Neon-Signs: An application for a permit for

neon-sign shall accompany a sketch drawn to measurement from the

manufacturers.

According to Rule 15 deals with Advertisements to bear the

permit number etc., and,

(1) All the advertisements for which permission has been accorded by

the Commissioner in the form prescribed in Annexure II to these rules

shall bear the permit number trnder which and the period for which

the display has been permitted.

(2) No person shall deface or cause to be defaced any sign or mark or

letter or words put up by the Commissioner or any other officers

au thortsed by him on the' advertisements in token of their having

been pefrrutted or ~pproved by him and of the tax having been paid

thereon.

'--
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13 WP(PILL3650f2018

/
(/
/

(3) Advertisements that do not bear the permit number shall be

treated as unauthorized and shall be liable for removal.

Thus, it is mandatory that every advertisement shall contain

the permit number and the period for which the display has been

permitted and if, any advertisement does not bear the permit number,

the same shall be treated as unauthorized and shall be liable for

removal. It is noticed that this Rule has not been applied by any of the

permit holders and those advertisements which are erected strictly

not in compliance of Rule 15 of the Rules, shall be removed in view of

the deeming provision i.e. Sub-Rule (3) of Rule 15 of the Rules.

Rule 18 further specified about Safety of advertisements.

(1) The Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him may

remove any advertisement or sky-sign which. in his opinion has been

displayed in contravention of the provisions of the Act. rules or bye-

laws made thereunder.

(2) The Municipal Council shall not be responsible for the safety of

any advertisement displayed on any public street or land. No suit or

claim for damages shall lie against the Municipal Council for any loss

or damage to and such advertisement or on account of loss damage

caused to a third party by such advertisement of sky-sign.

The word "sky-sign" is defined in Explanation II of Section 114

of the Act, meaning advertisement. supported on or attached to any

post. pole. standard. frame-work or other support wholly or in part

upon or over any land,


_, building, wall or structure, which. or any part
of which. shall be visible against the, sky from some point in any

public place and includes all and every part of any such post. pole,

standard, frame-work or other support. The expression "sky-sign"


19
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA WP(PIL)_365 01'2018

shall also include any balloon, parachute or other similar device

employed wholly or in part for the purposes of any advertisement

upon or over any land, building or structure or upon or over any

public place but shall not include-

(a) any flagstaff, pole, vane or weathercock, unless adapted or used

wholly or in part for the purpose of any advertisement: or

(b) any sign or any board, frame or other contrivance securely fixed

to or on the top of the wall or parapet of any building or on the

comice or blocking course of any wallar to the ridge of a roof:

Provided that such board, frame or other contrivance be of one

continuous face and not open work, and does not extend in height

more than one metre above any part of the wall, or parapet or

ridge, to against or on which it is fixed or supported; or (c) any

advertisement relating to the name of the land or building upon or

over which the advertisement is exhibited or to the name of the

owner or occupier of such land or building; or (d) any

advertisement relating exclusively to the business of a railway

administration and placed wholly upon or over any railway, railway

station, yard, platform or station approach belonging to a railway

administration and so placed that it cannot fall into any street or

public place; or (e) any notice of land or building to be sold or let,

placed upon such land or building.

The penalty prescribed under Rule 20 of the Rules, for

contravention of any provisio~s of any of the foregoing rules or fails to

comply with any order..,or direction lawfully given to him under any of
...
the said rules shall, in addition to the liability of tax, be punishable

with a fme which may extend up to one hundred rupees.

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20
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15 WP(PILL365 0[2018

I
i

As seen from the counter and additional counter filed by the 4h

respondent. unauthorized advertisements were removed at various

centres complained in the petition. But. no penalty was imposed for

the simple reason that the person(s} who erected such

flexies/banners/cutouts by way of advertisements are not identifiable

either by name or address and no details were available iN the

advertisements. It is no doubt a difficult task to the Municipality or its

officials to identify the persons who erected such unauthorized

advertisements of any kind to impose penalty. as permitted under

Rule 20 of the Rules. At the same time. if any penalty is imposed, it

will be credited to the exchequer of the Municipality that can be used

for the benefit of the public at large. within the municipal area and

thereby. the public injury complained is remote. Failure to impose

penalty is a clear inaction on the part of the officials concerned. But,

in view of the circumstances stated. it is difficult to impose such

penalty on unidentifiable persons who erected such unauthorized

flexies/banners/ cutouts. Therefore. insistence on the Municipality to

impose penalty against unidentifiable persons who erected

advertisements is nothing but futile direction.

Similar question came up for consideration before the Division

Bench of the High Court of A.P in Trust for Social Justice v. State

of Andhra Pradesh 1. the Division Bench of High Court of Andhra

Pradesh at Hyderabad issued a direction to Greater Hyderabad

Municipal Corporation and Commissioner of Police to remove all the

cutouts, banners and sign boards which are erected without

permission of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the

Commissioner of Police shall issue notice to the persons identifiable

12015 (5) ALD 58


16 HACJ & MSM.J 21
WP{PILL3650[2018
2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA

who erected unauthorized cutouts, banners, hoardings, sign boards

to remove them at their own cost.

When similar question came up for consideration in K.R.

Ramaswamy @ Traffic Ramaswamy v. The Collector, Cbennai

District2, the Madras High Court followed the view of the Supreme

Court in Novva ADS v. Secretary, Department of Municipal

Administration and Water Supply and others3 and having

considered the facts and circumstances, including the suggestions

issued followingdirections enumerated in paragraph 19 as follows:

M19. Having regard to all these aspects and keeping in view the
earlier directions given by the Division Bench in W.P.Nos.7143 of
2006 & other connected matters. we dispose of the present writ
petition with the followingobservations and directions:

(a) Erection of digital banners without appropriate license would


attract the provisions of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation
Licensing of Hoardings and Levy and Collection of Advertisement
Tax Rules. 2003 and no digital banner can be erected. whether for
a temporary period or for a more extended period, without license
from the appropriate authority. If there is any violation, obviously
the appropriate authorities can take action in .accordance with the
provisions contained in the Chennai City Municipal Corporation
Act, 1919, the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of
Destruction and Loss) Act,1982 and the Chennai City Municipal
Corporation Licensing of Hoardings and Levy and Collection of
Advertisement Tax Rules. 2003.

(b) Since the digital banners are covered under the definition of
'advertisement' under Section 2fb) of the Chennai City Municipal
Corporation Licensing of Hoardings and Levy and Collection of
Advertisement Tax Rules, 2003, it is obvious that no digital banner
can be erected on pavement having a width of less than 10 feet as
specifically contemplated in Rule 6(3). So far as the pavements
having more than 10 feet are concerned, Rule 6(4) enables the
licensing authority to give license for display of advertisement or
erection of hoardings including digital banners. However, as
contemplated in such rule. it can. be erected only paralIel to the
footpath or road margin and not across the footpath or the road
margin. Since the footpaths are primarily meant for the use of
pedestrians, the licensing authority. while considering any
application under Rule 6(4). has to ensure that no inconvenience
is caused to the users of the footpath.

(c) Sections 220 and 226 of the Chennai City Municipal


Corporation 'Act,1919, envisage that no person can dig roads,
streets or pavements without the permission of the Commissioner.
It is obvious that while considering the question of granting such
perjmsston, the Commissioner has to carefully consider the
purpose for seeking such permission and has to use his discretion
in a proper manner. Even though there is no specific provision

2 W.P.No.14965 of 2007 dated 28.04.200&_' _


3 AIR 2008 SC 2941

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22
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA
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17 WP(PILL365 of 2018

under the Cheririai City Municipal Corporation Act. it does not


mean that those who dig roads. streets or pavements can go scot-
free. It is the duty of the appropriate authority to prosecute such.
violators under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of
Destruction and Loss)Act. 1982.

(d) The press releases No.558 dated 29.8.2007 and No.132 dated
21.2.2008 should not be construed as giving universal permission
for erection of such banners nor it should be construed that the
person shall have right to erect such banners for six days. Since
statutory power is given to the Collector. it is for the Collector to
decide whether such license should be given and for how many
days and the Collector need not feel bogged down by such press
releases or the D.O. letter issued by the Chief Secretary. If any
digital banner is erected without permtsston. even temporarily. it is
the duty of the concerned authorities to take appropriate action
including removal of such unauthorised digital banner as well as
launching of prosecution against the violators.

(el In case of erection of illuminated hoarding or electronic display


with the use of electricity. the licensing authorIty should ensure
that there is no pilferage of electric energy and appropriate
permission is to be obtained from the State Electrtcity Board."

In P.S. Ismath Inoon v. The Commissioner. Tirunelveli

Corporatton+, the Madras High Court reiterated the same principles

laid down in K.R.. Ramaswamy @ Traffic Ramaswamy v. The

Collector. Chennai District (referred supra).

In Novva ADS v. Secretary. Department of Municipal

Administration and Water Supply and others (referred supra). the

Supreme Court had an occasion to deal with the legality of the

guidelines framed by the Municipal Corporation to regulate the

advertisements under the Madras Municipal Corporation Act and

upheld the guidelines laid down by the Municipal Corporation on

advertisements. more particularly. Sections 326-A to Section 327-J,

which prescribed certain limitations about the signs of such

advertisements.

No d~ubt. the S~ate of Andhra Pradesh issued certain guideltnes

considering the then prevailing circumstances in 1967. But. after

lapse of more than 50 years, there is a lot of change in the type of

4 W.P.(MD) No.2467 of 2011 dated 26.02.2014


18 HACJ & MSM,J
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA

advertisements due to progress in technology, But, even after more

than 50 years, the Rules framed are in-tact. It is high time for the

State Government to amend/review the Rules suitable to the present

trend of advertisements, taking into consideration, different types of

advertisements. but, Advertisements having the following

themes/messages shall not be allowed:

1. Nudity

2. Defamatory towards any caste, colour, creed. religion, nation,


community. race or institution.

3. Advertisement of drugs, alcohol. cigarette or tobacco items.


4. Advertisements propagating exploitation of women or child.
5. Advertisement depicting cruelty to animals.
6. Advertisement casting aspersion. on any brand or person or trade.
7. Advertisement glorifying violence.
8. Advertisement of Weapons and related items (such as firearms.
firearm parts and magazines. ammunition etc.)
9. Advertisements which may be defamatory, trade libelous. unlawfully
threatening or unlawfully harassing structure of an AdvertiSing Device.
10. Advertisements which may be obscene or contain pomography or
contain an "indecent representation of toornen" within the meaning of
the Indecent Representation o] Women (Prohibition)Act. 1986.
11. Advertisement Linked directly or indirectly to or include description
of items, goods or services that are prohibited under ani) applicable law
for the time being in force.

If, Rules are formulated taking into consideration of the above

aspects by the State, it would serve better purpose to the public. At

the same time, regarding safety of advertisements, the Greater

Hyderabad Municipal Corporation issued certain guldelmes for

outdoor advertisel!lents in the City of Hyderabad. As per new

instructions, the 40 ft. x 25 ft wall mounted and ground hoarding


...
would be aIlowed for advertisements after its structural safety is

assessed by an inspection of structural engineers from Jawaharlal

_--
24
2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA
HACJ & MSM.J
19 WP(PILL365 of 2018

Nehru Technological University. Hyderabad. For 30 ft X 25 ft hoarding

on roof tops on buildings not exceeding two floors. the permission

would be given only after inspection and certification from the

structural engineer under intimation to JNTU-H. In case of uni-poles

and hoardings beyond 30 It X 25 ft on higher roof tops, design.

certification and rectification should be taken before approval to

display advertisements. The civic body said that agencies have to

submit structural stability certificate from GHMC empanelled

engineers and certification from JNTU or lIT for allowing display on

urn-poles and hoarding of sizes beyond 30 ft X 25 ft and on higher

roof tops (second floor). The GHMC stated that permission would be

given tentatively to agencies to advertise, subject to an undertaking

that in case of any mishap, the agency would be held responsible for

consequences of civil and criminal liability in accordance With the

law. The civic body also said that all hoardings should be designed,

certified and retrofitted in accordance with the codes of practice.

Ajudicial notice can be taken as to the extent of damage to lives

of commuters and damage to property that occurred in the recent

past due to collapse of hoardings. causing damage to the public

property, mostly the cars parked and the public on the road. during

heavy rains or big gale. But, it is difficult for the persons injured or

persons who have lost their property to recover damages from the

concerned by following necessary procedure. To avoid such menace of

threat to life on account of different types of advertisements of heavy

weight and sizes. the State has to formulate or amend the gUidelines

suitable to the present conditions.

--
One of the contentions raised by the leamed counsel for the

petitioner during hearing is that, no steps were taken to treat the

-
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20 HACJ & MSM.J
WP(PILL365 of 2018
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA

solid waste. The 4th respondent contended that, steps were taken to

treat the solid waste by entering into contract with M/ s. Balaji

Cement Works, Budawada Village, Jaggayyapet Mandal, Krishna

District and a copy of letter dated 23.08.2018 t.e agreement entered

by the 4th respondent with Municipality after obtaining permission

from A.P. Pollution Control Board for treatment of solid waste is

placed on record. Therefore, the solid waste is being treated and no

further directions need be issued. However. the ISl and 2nd

respondents are directed to take appropriate steps to amend the

Rules, suitable to the present situation to ensure safety to the public

and avoid loss to the exchequer of the Municipality or State and

continue to endeavour for treatment of solid waste.

It is needless to state that, the unauthorized

banners /flexta/ cutouts of any kind is allowed to continue. the 4th

respondent shall reap serious consequences that flow from such

lethargic attitude of its officials for violation of such direction.

The municipality is further directed not to allow any

unauthorized banners of any kind. subject to Section 114 to Section

118 of the Act and exceptions contained therein and Rules 15. 16 &

18 of the Rules thereof. The Municipality is directed to continue

rnonttortng of removal of unauthorized flexes. banners etc by its

subordinates.

In view of our foregoing discussion, there is no need to

continuously monitor the proceedings by this Court. as the 4U1

..
respondent removed the unauthorized banners /flexts in substantial
...
compliance of interim direction dated 18.12.2018, as reported by the
----------
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2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA
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HACJ&MSM.J
21 WP(PILL365 of 2018

.I

4th respondent and the Chairman, Mandal Legal Services Authority-

cum-XI Additional District & Sessions Judge, Gudivada.

Hence, with the above directions, writ petition is disposed of.

Consequently, miscellaneous applications pending if any, shall

stand closed.
Sd/- K. AMMAJJI
ASSISTANT REGISTRAR
f IITRUE COPYII
~
SECTION OFFICER

One Fair copy to the Hon'ble the Acting Chief Justice C. Praveen Kumar
(For His Lordships Kind Perusal)

One Fair copy to the Hon'ble Sri Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy


(For His Lordships Kind Perusal)

To,
1. The Principal Secretary Municipal. Administration and Urban Development
Department, State of Andhra Pradesh, Secretariat, at Velagapudi, Amaravathi,
~ §l.1tltur District.
~he Director of Municipal Administration" Sri Krishna Enclave, Gorantla, Guntur,
Guntur District.
3. The District Collector" Krishna.
4. The Commissioner, Gudiwada Municipality, Gudiwada, Krishna District.
5. The Deputy Superintendent of Police" Gudiwada Division, Gudiwada, Krishna
District
6. The Member Secretary. Pollution Control Board, Andhra Pradesh. Andhra
Pradesh.
7. Nine L.R. Copies
8. The Under Secretary. Union of India, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company
Affairs. New Delhi.
9. The Secretary, Advocatess Association Library. High Court of A.P.
10. One CC to Sri. Mohammed Gayasuddin, Advocate (OPUC)
11. One CC to Sri. Nimmagadda Venkateswarlu, SC for Municipalities (OPUC)
12. One CC to Sri. Ramachandra Rao Gurram, SC for AP Pollution Board (OPUC)
13. Two CCs to the GP for Municipal Admn. & Urban Dev., High Court of A.P. (OUT)
14. Two CCs to the GP for Revenue, High Court of A.P. (OUT)
15. Two CCs to the GP for Horne, High Court of A.P. (OUT)
16.Two CD Copies.

PM
r
27
2385237/2019/TAPPAL -CDMA
-r
HIGH COURT ,-

DATED:14/02/2019

ORDER

WP(PIl:)~No.365of 2018

Disposing of the 'WP(PIL)


Without costs.

,.,.