The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Chennai Police Commissioner to consider an application seeking permission for conducting the Eelam Tamils Livelihood Rights Conference, organised by the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO), at YMCA, Royapettah, on August 12, and pass appropriate speaking orders.

While passing orders, he should take into account the capacity of the ground, safety and security of the audience, earlier orders passed permitting the use of the ground for various functions, distance at which the Government Royapettah Hospital (GRH) was located, restrictions regarding use of loudspeakers as provided in Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

A Division Bench of Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M. Venugopal passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition by K.P.R. Ramachandran of Nerkundram near here, seeking a direction to authorities not to grant permission for the conference at the proposed venue or anywhere else within city limits.

The petitioner sought a consequential direction for the relocation of the conference outside the city. Mr. Ramachandran said he was a leader of the ‘108’ Free Ambulance Service Employees Union. The court ordered notice.

During the course of arguments, Advocate-General A. Navaneethakrishnan said that the authorities were going to reject the application seeking permission. However, he said, the Commissioner had not passed any order so far.

Petitioner’s counsel R. Muthukumaraswamy said that opposite the venue of the proposed conference, the GRH was located and the Chennai Metro Rail project work was on. If the conference was allowed, it would cause noise pollution to patients. Free flow of traffic would be affected and the general public would be inconvenienced.

As per a Supreme Court decision, an area not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts had been declared as silence area/zone and therefore, no permission could be accorded for the conference.

YMCA’s counsel V.R. Thangavel said earlier, both the DMK and AIADMK had conducted their meetings at the proposed venue, which measured 99 grounds.

Counsel for TESO, P. Wilson, said wide publicity had been given in newspapers regarding the conference from July. The petitioner, Mr. Ramachandran, had filed the petition only on August 7.

He listed the recent events held on the YMCA grounds. No representation had been given by the writ petitioner to the police Commissioner raising objections.

Messrs. Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Venugopal said Section 41 of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act would clearly establish the Commissioner’s power to grant or reject permission for such public meetings, taking into consideration public safety and security.

The Bench said before invoking the court’s extraordinary jurisdiction, the petitioner should have sent a representation to the Commissioner. That was lacking. Considering all facts and circumstances and the wide powers of the Commissioner, the Bench said, it did not want to usurp the official’s powers. Hence, it considered it appropriate to give the direction to him.

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