New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the Delhi Government to respond to a plea filed by the Aam Aadmi Party challenging the move of removing the party's posters from houses of people willing to put them up.
The plea by the Aam Aadmi Party sought direction for police not to remove election campaign material from the homes of willing Delhi residents.
It said that police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi be restrained from removing posters from houses under the garb of the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property (DPDP) Act.
The plea sought direction to police "to stop the take-down and removal of posters/hoardings/other campaign material from the private property of the petitioners, namely their homes, as well as from the homes of any and all citizens of Delhi, under the Act".
A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw questioned what will happen if there were posters on every house.
"The purpose of the DPDP Act is when you walk on streets, the view should be good. What will happen if there is a poster on every house?" the court asked advocate Prashant Bhushan who appeared for the petitioner.
Bhushan told the court that banning people from putting posters would be denial of the right to freedom of speech.
"This move is denial of the right to freedom of speech and expression of the citizen and the restriction should be set aside immediately as election is around the corner," he argued.
The bench, however, questioned how the right to freedom of speech was being violated.
"The posters or banners are for the purpose of others to see not for yourself. So how your freedom of speech and expression is being violated?" the court asked.
Bhushan also urged the court to pass an order to restrain police and the MCD from removing posters from houses as elections in the capital will be held soon and the AAP has to begin its campaign.
On October 17, 2013, the Election Commission in its reply to petitioners had said "putting up of banners/posters at homes of volunteers/supporters on private property is prohibited under the DPDP Act".