HC directs city police chief to keep vigil on illegal flexes

It will be the responsibility of the police commissioner to set up a system to prevent putting up of illegal hoardings/flexes/banners. The Karnataka High Court summoned Police Commissioner T. Sunil Kumar and issued the direction on Friday after taking cognisance of an attack on BBMP staff engaged in removal of illegal banners on the directions of the court.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice R. Devdas also directed the police commissioner and all other officers concerned to provide appropriate support and protection to the officials and workers of the BBMP engaged in removal of unauthorised hoardings/flexes/banners.

Initially, the court wanted the police to complete the probe into the attack and file a report before the jurisdictional magistrate by August4. However, Advocate-General Uday Holla requested time till August 7.

The bench orally told the Advocate-General that the court will hold the police commissioner responsible if anything happens to officials of the BBMP during the discharge of their duty.

The Chief Justice orally pointed out that the police have handy tools, like surveillance cameras, installed at various locations across the city and mobile patrolling vehicles to keep a vigil on any suspicious activities, including putting up of illegal flexes.

He was critical about non-effective use of such tools while observing that citizens read cautionary signboards put up at various locations that ‘you are under CCTV surveillance’, but hardly know that no one monitors and utilises these surveillance system effectively.

“If police are lax and relax, we will have flexes,” the Chief Justice observed orally while stating that if the officers go out of their chambers and step out of their cars, they will be able to see the problems of the city.

Reiterating its earlier remark that Bengaluru has to be ‘brought back on track’ and removal of illegal hoardings/flexes/banners is a small aspect of this aim, the bench said that the tendency of doing wrong has to be curbed, and nobody should be under the misconception that they can do anything despite court orders.

Further hearing was adjourned till August 8.

The court asked the Police Commissioner to file an affidavit on the action taken on keeping vigil on illegal structures.

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