1. In compliance with the Orders of this Court passed on 10.3.2016, the learned Additional Attorney General for Pakistan has placed before us an interim report reflecting that the meetings held in the Office of the Commissioner Karachi with the object to achieve city-wide uniformity for installation of Billboards and Hoardings. The interim report further reflects that all the stakeholders, who attended the meetings, proposed the amendments in the respective by-laws.
2. We have inquired from the learned Advocate General Sindh, present in Court, the view point of the Sindh Government on the issue of installation of Billboards and Hoardings on public properties. He has made a statement on behalf of the Sindh Government that no Billboards or Hoardings of any nature can be allowed to be installed on public properties. The learned Additional Attorney General was also of the view that Billboards and Hoardings cannot be installed on the public properties.
3. The term ‘public property’ has wide meaning and, therefore, we would like to clarify it in the order to avoid any ambiguity. The term ‘public property’ shall include the following places:
(iii) Islands in the center of a road/service lane – including but not limited to “Sponsored Islands‟ whereby the entire Island is maintained by a private person who displays his name and products on the traffic signs.
(iv) Overhead Bridges and Underpasses.
(v) Overhead pedestrian walkways/bridges.
(vi) Roundabouts – including but not limited to “Sponsored Roundabouts‟ whereby the entire Roundabout is maintained by a private person/or any organization who displays his or their name and products on the traffic signs.
(vii) Green Belts/Dividers between a road.
(viii) Pedestrian lanes.
(ix) Nullahs (Storm Water Drains) and the banks of Nullahs (Storm Water Drains) which abut roads.
(i) Traffic signs i.e. signs set up by the Traffic Department providing directions are permissible on these locations but should not be „Sponsored Traffic Signs‟ i.e. Traffic Signs that are sponsored by private persons and display their name and products on the traffic signs.
(ii) Signboards located within a plot not listed above but which in any manner “overhang” any of the areas listed above”.
4. We have heard Mr. Abdul Rehman Advocate as amicus, the learned Additional Attorney General for Pakistan, Advocate General Sindh and Administrators of District Town Committees. There is no law which permits K.M.C., D.M.C., Cantonment Boards or any other agency in Karachi to install Billboards or Hoardings on a public property. Such an act on the part of permission granting agency is against the civil rights of the citizens. The civil rights of the citizens cannot be hampered with by erecting the Billboards or Hoardings on the civic amenity meant for the use and benefit of public at large besides such an act would endanger the life and property of the common man.
5. As a first step, we are of the considered view that no Billboard or Hoarding can be permitted to be installed on any public property as defined in the preceding paragraph by any authority under the garb of by-laws which militate the civil rights of the public at large. Therefore, all the concerned authorities are directed to immediately remove all the Billboards/Hoardings installed without permission within their jurisdiction within 15 days from today and report compliance.
6. The Billboards/Hoardings which have been installed in the public properties under any license or lease shall be uprooted by 30th June, 2016 by the concerned advertising agencies which own that poles or displaying materials or by the contractors if they own such material or by the authorities with whose permission the Billboards or Hoardings have been installed. In the intervening period, no permission shall be granted by any of the authority in Karachi to install the Billboard/Hoarding on any portion of public place/property as clarified herein above.
Further information for billboards installed on public property can be solicited from AUJ LAWYERS. Feel free to contact us in case you need any clarification and/or require legal assistance regarding billboards installed on public property.