The First Bench comprising Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan made the observation while disposing of writ petitions filed against the illegal structures in Tamil Nadu.

Officials lack the will and courage to prevent erection of illegal digital boards, placards and hoardings, the Madras High Court observed on Thursday. They took defence that such illegal activities could not be prevented owing to lack of manpower. “It is very saddening to note that the violators, particularly political parties, are vying with each other to violate the orders passed by this court and the statutory provisions with absolute impunity.”

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan made the observation while disposing of writ petitions filed against the illegal structures in the State.

The petitions filed by K.R.Ramaswamy alias ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy, a social activist, pertained to the removal of digital banners/flex boards which, he said, had been erected by almost all political parties and various organisations violating laws. He said rules should be enforced strictly.

The Bench said photographs filed by the petitioner disclosed non-compliance of the previous court orders. A perusal of the status reports and counter affidavits of the Chennai Collector and the Chennai Corporation gave an impression that as and when the writ petitions were taken up for hearing, officials came up with status reports defending the action taken by them.

Compared to the magnitude of the violation, the action taken was very minimal. Digital banners were put up across pathways, and political flags on poles were projecting on to the road endangering road users.

The court directed the District Collectors, heads of departments, local body officials and the Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to ensure that illegal digital banners and placards were not put up. Criminal prosecution should be launched against violators. There should be periodic monitoring.

Meetings, preferably once in three months, should be held to review the implementation of the rules and regulations and court orders.