Madras HC on putting Banners and Cutouts of Political Leaders in Public Places
In a Public Interest Litigation hearing, a bench of Madras High Court gave orders to the State to put up fine for further prevention of these posters and cutout constructions to often welcome the political leaders.
The petitioner attested that a boy had been electrocuted while erecting a DMK flagpole for an event of the party. The boy had died after being electrocuted. This tragedy was observed by the High Court as a tragic accident.
The counsel on behalf of the State maintained that the Chief Minister of the State, M. K. Stalin had already prohibited the practice of erecting such flagpoles, posters or cutouts. However, the Court stated that despite these prohibitions, the acts are still continuing. The court said, “though learned Advocate-General submits that the present government has prohibited such practice for the political party which is in power, the temporary constructions are seen to come up all over the place and remain long after the event is over”.
The court also remarked that such practices are very harmful as the roads and pathways are mainly blocked by these posters. This makes it difficult for pedestrians to move and thus accidents occur frequently.
Hence, despite the prohibitions, these practices still take place, thus the court has directed the State to impose fines on these practices to restrict and discourage such behavior.
The court remarked, “ the matter pertains to footpaths and pathways along
highways and even parts of roads and highways being blocked at times
with posters, festoons, buntings and cut-outs of political leaders being
put up for minor functions. It is especially dangerous when temporary constructions are put up at intersections in the form of welcome arches
or gates to invite political leaders”.
The court also said, “List the matter six weeks hence. Counter-affidavits be filed in the meantime. A comprehensive set of guidelines need to be issued
and the State should indicate the appropriate measures necessary to
discourage and completely stop this practice which impedes pedestrian
and vehicular movement. It would be best if the State could suggest
some disincentive or penalty if such temporary constructions are put
up at any public space”.
Hence, the court has granted the State, six weeks time to issue guidelines for the same matter.
The hearing for the petition is set for November. The Court has directed the counter affidavits for the order to be filed before the next hearing.