Political paintings and hoardings near court campuses vanish

The Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct has achieved what even court orders could not, as political hoardings outside the main entrance of the Madras High Court Bench here and paintings on the compound wall of the District Court vanished after the code came into force on March 5.

In March 2006, the First Bench of the High Court headed by the then Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah directed the authorities concerned to ensure that no political activities, including display of political cut-outs, banners and posters or organisation of protests, meetings and birthday celebrations of party leaders, took place on the court premises in the State.

The court had directed police to remove all political cut-outs, advertisements and photographs from the court premises and from the compound walls in order to maintain the “dignity and decorum” of the courts.

It had also made it clear that the order would apply to the High Court campuses and campuses housing district courts and various tribunals.

Nevertheless, the compound wall of the District Court here continued to be a free for all until recently with almost all major political parties having used it to hail their leaders.

The roadsides near the main entrance of the Madras High Court Bench here too were dotted with political hoardings.

Early this month, S.P. Ganesh, an advocate, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the High Court Bench seeking a direction to the Collectors of Madurai, Dindigul, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, Tiruchi, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Theni and Karur districts to ban erection of hoardings and sticking of bills and posters by political parties near court campuses.

He said in January this year the First Bench headed by the then Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal had criticised the officials for “lacking courage and will” to prevent illegal hoardings.

It had said: “It is very saddening to note that the violators, particularly political parties, are vying with each other to violate orders passed by this court and the statutory provisions with absolute impunity.”

The PIL was admitted by the High Court Bench on March 3 and notices were ordered to the 13 District Collectors.

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