Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea challenging the city government’s move prior to 2013 assembly polls to remove political posters from houses of people who were willing to put them up on their premises.
The petition had been filed after Delhi Police, ahead of the 2013 Delhi Assembly polls, had removed posters from private properties of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters and threatened them with action under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw while dismissing the plea also said that a person “can only put up posters with prior permission of the concerned authorities”, which already exist under the law.
The bench, in its judgement on the plea of Anil Bhatia, also upheld the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007.
Bhatia, in his plea, had said that the move to prohibit putting up of political posters from private residences amounted to “denial of right to freedom of speech of the citizen and the restriction should be immediately set aside.”
The petitioner had also sought a declaration from the court that “Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, does not prohibit putting up of posters or banners on one’s own house or any other building with the consent of their owners”.
The petition had also alleged that the said process of removal was a clear violation of the fundamental right and freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed to every citizen of India under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.