NEW DELHI: It could spell a windfall for cash-strapped Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). For, the Supreme Court has allowed implementation of MCD's Outdoor Advertising Policy that could help the civic body earn upto Rs 400 crore annually as against Rs 40 crore at present.
Nearly 12 years ago, the apex court had on November 20, 1997, banned hoardings on roads holding them to be hazardous and saying that the safety of road users was paramount.
But a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam on Friday allowed immediate implementation of MCD's new outdoor advertising policy that has incorporated alterations recommended by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
MCD counsel senior advocate Ravi Shankar Prasad and advocate Sanjiv Sen argued that the policy was driven not by revenue imperatives but by the city development considerations as it permitted hoardings "only if they are not a road safety hazard''.
The policy, which virtually bans house-top hoardings in residential areas, was designed to ensure that outdoor advertising was not hazardous to road traffic. Hence, only large size billboards at a significant distance from traffic junctions and intersections would be permitted, MCD said. The policy introduces the concept of using outdoor advertisement as "street furniture'' to improve the aesthetic value of city roads, MCD explained.
However, this go-ahead from the Supreme Court would not be applicable to those hoardings on railway land as the railways was given one final opportunity to represent the EPCA with its grievances within one week. SC ordered that EPCA would take a decision on these grievances within three weeks of the railways making the representation.
In relation to hoardings on Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the Bench asked MCD and DMRC to settle their differences as the latter argued that MCD had no right to demand revenue or regulate advertisements put up on the property of the Metro Rail Corporation.