The Supreme Court of the country has approved the new outdoor advertisement policy formulated by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA). The new policy’s purported aim is to curb illegal hoardings, improving or ensuring road safety with less distraction for commuters and to give a neater look to the city of Delhi. Under the 2017 policy, advertisements will not be allowed in the national parks, historical monuments, world heritage areas and religious places.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices, MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta, directed expeditious implementation of the new policy framed by the EPCA, which suggested a ban on advertisements which distracted road commuters by promoting ‘nudity, racism, drugs, cruelty to animals or any kind of violence.’ The court also took note of the submissions of the amicus curiae who assisted the court, that hoardings on railway bridges, flyovers and foot-over bridges should be erected with great care for safety and to avoid visual clutter.
The court accepted the EPCA’s report suggesting that the city must have an approved policy for outdoor advertisements as lack of it or the lack of clarity led to huge irregularities and loss of revenue for the municipal agencies and safety issues for residents and the general public. “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 such as mirror foils as the use of such material is visually disruptive to traffic and can be hazardous to drivers,” the judgement 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 the respective body.”