Hoardings put up on railway station premises are subject to regulation as per government laws, the Madras High Court said.

Imposing costs of Rs. 25,000 each, the Court dismissied five writ petitions that sought to restrain the Chennai Corporation from interfering with hoardings put up in railway precincts. The costs should be paid to the civic body.

In a common order on a batch of petitions, Justice D. Hariparanthaman said, it was the case of the petitioners, Sri Raghavendra Ad Lab and four others, that since the hoardings were on railway premises, they need not get licence under Section 326-C of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act.

He said, the hoardings erected on railway premises also came under the definition of ‘hoarding’ under Section 326-A. If held otherwise, it would defeat the very purpose of the law which was to regulate all hoardings exhibiting advertisements that were visible to public.

The petitioners had been granted permission by Southern Railway to erect hoardings on payment of licence fee. The Chennai Corporation sought to regulate the hoardings by insisting that the petitioners should obtain licence. Otherwise, the structures could be removed.

Counsel for the petitioners contended that the civic body had no power to regulate hoardings put up by petitioners on railway premises.

Justice Hariparanthaman said the word ‘hoarding’ had been given the widest meaning. If an advertisement was displayed on hoardings, it came within the definition of Section 326-A, he said.

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