Bar Association Wants Colombo Mayor To Remove MR Hoardings

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has sent a letter of demand against the Colombo Municipal Council Mayor A. J. M. Musammil demanding him to take immediate steps to remove the large number of illegal propaganda hoardings of President Mahinda Rajapakse within the municipality of Colombo forthwith.

The BASL reiterated that in the event of failure to comply with this demand it would institute legal proceedings against the Mayor for contempt of court and for non compliance of law and acts of corruption upon his noncompliance with this demand with immediate effect.

The BASL had sent this letter of demand through Samararatne Associates stated that the Bar Association of a Sri Lanka, acting through its Bar Council and the Executive Committee, have unanimously resolved to take up matters concerning Free and Fair Elections to be held on the 8th of January 2014.

The BASL stated a very large number of propaganda hoardings, approximately 1800, of President Mahinda Rajapakse have been put up within the city limits of Colombo in direct violation of the by-laws published in the Gazette Notification dated 20.01.1989 and Advertising Guidelines of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) which came into effect in 01.01.2006 and without any consideration given to the detrimental effects such unauthorized hoardings have trespassed on the scenic beauty of the city, blocking most of the traffic signs.

The BASL observed that such display hoardings had been allowed by Mayor without any regard to the scenic beauty and the historical value of the capital city of the country, and also without due regard to safety of the public.

The BASL informed that displaying of advertisements/hoardings within the Colombo Municipality is regulated by the Advertisement, Decoration and Posters By-Law 1991 of the CMC. Section 2 of the said By-law, stated that,

“No one shall display any advertisement or cause any advertisement to be displayed so as to be visible from any street, road, canal, lake, sea or the sky except under the authority of a license issued in that behalf.”

The BASL further stated that such display of hoardings which carries the photograph of the President Mahinda Rajapakse who has declared his intention to contest the forthcoming Presidential Election, have not obtained the approval of the CMC nor displayed the approved number of hoardings as sought from the CMC.

The BASL further stated that these hoardings have been put up in violation of Clauses 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 12 of the advertising guidelines of the CMC.

The BASL further stated that the Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in S.C.F.R Application No.252/2007 directed that the Colombo Municipal Council take steps to strictly enforce the by-laws published in the Gazette Notification dated 20.01.1989 and the guidelines for advertising in Colombo which came into effect on 01.01.2006 and a further direction was made by Their Lordships of the Supreme Court that all unauthorized/illegal hoardings erected in the Colombo Municipal Council area which were given approval in violation of the aforementioned by-laws and the guidelines for advertising in Colombo to be removed by the Colombo Municipal Council.

The BASL further observed that the Mayor have been further directed by the Commissioner of Elections by his letter dated 30th November 2014 that these illegal hoardings be removed and he has failed to carry out the said direction in flagrant violation of Law and continue to permit the exhibition of these illegal hoardings. The Mayor has thereby acted in a corrupt manner falling within the Bribery and Corruption Law.

 

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