KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) wants to know how many of the 17 different civic bodies controlling the administrative affairs in different parts of the city have implemented effective by-laws to regulate the display of the advertisements on the roads.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, gave this direction to Barrister Abdul Rahman, who has been appointed as amicus curiae by the apex court to assist the court resolve the controversy regarding the authority of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the cantonment boards, the Defence Housing Authority and the law enforcement agencies to allow display of the outdoor advertisements along main thoroughfares.
During Monday’s proceedings, the judges were informed that there are 20 bodies that have allowed the display of paid advertisements but only two of them, the KMC and Cantonment Board Clifton, have specific by-laws that regulate outdoor signboards, the law officers added. The rest of them have no specific or even general laws, the judges were told.
The apex court asked the amicus curiae Rahman to inform whether or not the remaining 17 different civic agencies have any laws that regulate outdoor advertisements.
He would also find out whether or not these bodies have legally or illegally allowed the display of outdoor advertisements. Barrister Rahman will also inform the bench how the authorities can be dealt with if the signboards are illegally allowed to be displayed and, if they are displayed legally, if they can be banned. He will submit a detailed report answering these queries by the next hearing.
Earlier, the amicus curiae argued that the display of the outdoor signboards have been already been declared illegal in different countries, including neighbouring India. The advertisements displayed along the main arteries distract the drivers and that’s the reason why they have been banned, Rahman added.