Illegal Flex Boards: Remove Them Or Be Personally Liable: Kerala HC Issues Ultimatum To Heads Of Local Self Govt Institutions [Read Order]
A single bench of the High Court of Kerala has warned the various heads of Local Self Government institutions to ensure the removal of all illegal flex boards /banners/hoardings/flags before October 30 in due compliance with its earlier orders. The court had earlier issued guidelines to ensure prompt removal of such flex boards and the government in compliance with that order had formulated a circular to implement the same.
The court recorded the submission of the standing counsels of various corporations, wherein it was stated through an affidavit that earnest efforts were being taken to implement the directions of the court. Noting the lackadaisical attitude of the Secretary of Kollam Corporation, who chose not to appear before the court nor filed an affidavit or statement explaining the state of affairs, the court has summoned the said Secretary to offer its explanation by being present in person on the next posting date.
The court also cautioned the officers of concerned authorities that they shall be held personally held liable to the penalties leviable from such boards and advertisement tariff if such illegal flex boards /banners/hoardings/flags remain after October 30. Such dereliction in causing the proper action to be taken by the concerned staff will be viewed as an abdication of official duties. Justice Devan Ramachandran speaking for the court directed as follows: ”I order that any unauthorized flex boards/ bill boards/advertisement boards/banners/flags, which remain after the 30th October 2018, will be the personal responsibility of the Secretary of the concerned Local Self Government Institution and that of the concerned field staff attached to the said Authority. This is to mean that if these boards are not removed by the 30th of October, 2018, the charges for such removal, the penalties to be levied against such boards and the advertisement tariff that may become applicable on such boards, will be levied personally from the concerned staff of the respective Local Self Government Institutions. These officers, if found culpable, will also be preceded under law by the Government, through the Nodal officers who have been appointed, and action will be taken against such officers, as if they are in abdications of their official duties.”
As regards the unauthorized boards installed after October 30, the court directed its removal after due notice to the perpetrators and collection of fine in this regard. The court also made it clear that the Principal Secretary, Local Self Government Institutions, shall also issue necessary directions to all the District Collectors of the state and district heads of Police departments to offer all necessary assistance to implement the order of the court in letter and spirit.
The court taking note of the factum of the appointment of nodal officers to implement the circular in this regard made it clear that the people would be at liberty to approach such officers directly in cases where the orders of this court are not implemented by the Local Self Government institutions in a proper manner.
The court, thereafter, posted these matters for further consideration to November 13,2018.Read the Order Here