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adProperty News

Regulating hoardings on private properties
Source : The Hindu Property Plus Published On : 2009-01-24 City : Chennai

In Chennai, the District Collector is empowered to remove existing hoardings which are dangerous and causing disturbance to safe traffic movement, says C.H.Gopinatha Rao

Can the hoardings on private buildings and lands also be regulated? Going by the Supreme Court judgment ((2008) 3 MLJ 1058 (SC)) all hoardings both on private and public land will come under regulatory control. In Chennai, the District Collector is empowered to remove existing hoardings which are dangerous and causing disturbance to safe traffic movement.

The Collector is also empowered to refuse the license for hazardous and dangerous hoardings.

The sections pertaining to regulation hoardings on private lands in Chennai Municipal Act and the Chennai City Municipal Corporation (Licensing of Hoardings and levy and collection of Advertisement Tax) rules 2003 was challenged by an advertising agency in the Division Bench of the Madras High Court. When the petition was dismissed, the appellants approached the Supreme Court.

The arguments put forth by the State were that the advertisements had sprung up indiscriminately and regulation on the erection of hoardings for the last two decades was frustrated.

As a result, the city of Chennai has huge advertisement hoardings on major roads which are not only aesthetically objectionable but also are hazardous and dangerous to traffic.


The Supreme Court held that distinction had to be made between hazardous and obstruction in terms of hoarding locations and size even though there may be some amount of overlapping.            "What is hazardous cannot have definite terms, in that sense Legislature had thought it wise to use the expression obstruction so that it can be brought within manageable standards. The expression obstruction would therefore include any act which impedes free and safety movement of the traffic, pedestrians and vehicles. Such an act may well by reason of what is displayed in such hoardings attract the attention of the drivers of the vehicles which in turn impedes free and safe movement of traffic. Such a hoarding would clearly come under the meaning construction contemplated under the rule. "

The Supreme Court clearly stated that the fact that the hoarding is on building or private land does not take away the regulatory measures relating to hoardings. There can be cases where, because of the size and height, the hoardings can be dangerous and also hazardous. It was also held that the plan of the hoarding was to be approved by a qualified Structural Engineer”.

With the above observations, the petitions were dismissed and hoardings on private building and lands brought under regulatory control.

The author is former National President, Institution of Valuers.



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