Instruct cadre not to put up flex boards: HC urges parties

The judges directed the Chief Secretary to come up with a solution by September 13. File

The judges directed the Chief Secretary to come up with a solution by September 13. File   | Photo Credit: M. Govarthan

Judges say the ruling AIADMK should take the lead on issue

The Madras High Court on Wednesday impressed upon the need for leaders of all political parties to ensure that their cadre shun the practice of putting up flex boards illegally on roadsides, pavements and medians for both party as well as private events, inconveniencing pedestrians and motorists who often end up meeting with accidents.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and B. Pugalenthi said the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) could take the lead in so far as the menace of erection of unauthorised flex boards was concerned, and send an advisory down the line to all its cadre, instructing them not to indulge in such illegalities.

The observations were made during the hearing a contempt of court plea filed by activist “Traffic” K.R. Ramaswamy against the Chief Secretary and others for having allegedly failed to implement a direction issued by the court on December 19, restraining all registered as well as recognised political parties from erecting flex boards across the State until further orders.

The court then had also suo motu impleaded 10 political parties — AIADMK, DMK, Bahujan Samaj Party, BJP, CPI, CPI(M), DMDK, Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Puratchi Bharatham party — as respondents to a PIL petition filed by the activist and ordered notices to them. Yet, none of them had responded so far, the Bench said on Wednesday.

In the meantime, the activist complained of several violations of the court order by ruling partymen at various places. The latest violation was with respect to several flex boards erected by a former councillor between Koyambedu and Vanagaram to invite Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam for a family function.

When the court sought for an explanation, Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam filed a counter affidavit stating that Vanagararm K. Raja alias Perazhagan had made a representation to Greater Chennai Corporation on July 1, seeking permission to erect 100 flex boards. The zonal officer rejected the request on July 10. Yet, the flex boards were erected without permission and hence, two First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered in Koyambedu as well as Maduravoyal police stations. Similarly, the police had removed unauthorised flex boards in other places too and registered criminal cases, the Chief Secretary said. However, advocate G.K. Harihara Raja, representing the activist, told the Bench that the Greater Chennai city police had registered just one FIR with respect to unauthorised flex boards between December 19, 2018 and July 30, 2019. Though it had claimed to have issued community service register receipts in 471 cases, such CSR was not valid in law, he said.

After recording his submissions, the judges said they were not satisfied with repeated submissions made by government officials of having taken action against unauthorised hoardings. The judges directed the Chief Secretary to come up with a solution to prevent the offence by September 13.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 6:42:38 AM |

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