A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul issued notice to the Transport Department of Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council and others while posting the matter for further consideration on January 28.
The high court was hearing a plea by Social Justice For Human Welfare, filed through Shefali Malhotra, challenging the legality and constitutionality of the Guidelines on Display of Advertisement on Public Service Vehicle issued by the transport department under Rule 71(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, 1993.
On August 1, Delhi government had placed its latest guidelines for display of advertisements on public service vehicles according to which any ad containing political, ethnic, religious or sectarian text will not be permitted.
It had specified that the vehicle owner needed to obtain an approval from municipal authorities before displaying any political advertisements on public service vehicles.
“Advertisements cannot be displayed without approval from municipal bodies and are allowed only for vehicles having GPS/GPRS systems,” the guidelines had said.
The plea alleged that this amounts to an ‘unreasonable restriction’ on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a).
“The legal parameters within which an advertisement maybe made and published is well defined under the Code of Advertising Practice. Any action in breach of these legal bounds would invite consequences,” it said.