Tamil Nadu

High Court firm, says ban on flex boards can’t be relaxed

Stressing the need to uphold the majesty of law, the Madras High Court on Wednesday put its foot down and refused to relax an order passed by it on December 19 restraining recognised and registered political parties from erecting digital banners or placards on either side of arterial roads, platforms, walkways or any other road throughout the State.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and M. Nirmal Kumar rejected the plea by N. Balaganga of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to relax the ban and permit him to erect flex boards across Chennai city between February 22 and 26 to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

Though a fervent appeal was made to the court to relax the ban and direct Greater Chennai Corporation to consider an application filed by the AIADMK leader strictly in accordance with law, the judges said, they were not inclined to do so because of flagrant violations of several court orders passed in the last six years to regulate flex boards in public places.

When a senior counsel representing the AIADMK leader pointed out that the authorities concerned had begun to take action against violators pursuant to the court orders, Justice Sathyanarayanan said: “They have only been reporting about action taken after erection of the digital banners but we also want them to prevent such instances.”

Stating that political parties were displaying flex boards despite the ban order, the judge also said that “no worthwhile details” with regard to prosecution of violators had been provided in an affidavit filed by Municipal Administration Secretary Harmander Singh on Wednesday. They directed him to file a better affidavit by March 13.

In its December 19 order, the Division Bench had ordered that recognised and registered political parties should not erect flex boards until the State government as well as the local bodies come out with an undertaking that the Tamil Nadu Urban Local Bodies (Permission for erection of digital banners and placards) Rules of 2011 shall be followed scrupulously.

Accordingly, Mr. Singh had filed the affidavit giving such an undertaking. His affidavit was filed before the Bench along with Mr. Balaganga’s plea for relaxation of the ban. However, the judges rejected the affidavit and simply adjourned the AIADMK leader’s plea to March 13 though Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary falls on February 24.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 2:52:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/high-court-firm-says-ban-on-flex-boards-cant-be-relaxed/article26262097.ece

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