New Delhi: The Delhi government on Thursday justified before the High Court its decision to remove posters of Aam Admi Party from private houses and buildings, saying no city can be allowed to become a jungle of advertisements which also threaten safety and convenience of drivers and pedestrians.
The affidavit filed by the Government of NCT also told the Delhi High Court that "uncontrolled" licence for putting posters comes in the way of larger public interest and the law to prevent defacement of property is equally applicable to both private and public property.
Also, the right of political parties to promote themselves cannot supersede the larger public interest, it said.
Responding to AAP`s plea, the city government said, "No city whether it be the capital of the country or a small town can be allowed to become a jungle of posters, banners, hoarding, advertisements without regard to any aesthetic sense of safety of the drivers of vehicles or convenience of the pedestrian".
"The desire of the political parties to promote themselves cannot supersede the larger public interest in the need for orderly display of advertisement materials," the affidavit said.
It added: "There is no such thing as absolute or unrestricted freedom of speech and expression wholly free from restraint for that would amount to uncontrolled licence which would tend to lead to disorder and anarchy."
The Delhi Government said that the Constitution has struck a proper balance between the various competing social interests.
"Private property has not been exempted from the application of defacement act in any manner whatsoever. From the Section 3 (1) of the Act, it is clear that it is applicable equally to public and private and public property," the government has said.
AAP has challenged the move of Delhi government to remove its posters from houses of people willing to put them up on their property saying it is "denial of the right to freedom of speech of the citizen and the restriction should be set aside immediately before the campaigning period is going on."