Tamil Nadu

SC reiterates its order to stop defacement of natural environment

The Indian Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi on August 24, 2017.
India's Supreme Court ruled on August 24 that citizens have a constitutional right to privacy, a landmark verdict that could have wide-reaching implications for the government's flagship biometric programme. / AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The Indian Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi on August 24, 2017. India's Supreme Court ruled on August 24 that citizens have a constitutional right to privacy, a landmark verdict that could have wide-reaching implications for the government's flagship biometric programme. / AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Tamil Nadu government for not giving a “meaningful response” to its March 8 order to take steps to immediately stop political parties from defacing the natural environment like mountains, hills and hillocks by covering them in multi-coloured slogans.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi Tamil Nadu government did not imbibe the “proper spirit” of its order meant to protect the natural resources.

Not impressed by the State’s submission that a committee had been appointed, the court once again stressed that the State should ensure that no disfigurement of any public place took place.

A special leave petition was filed by a group, In Defence of Environment and Animals, represented by advocate Elephant G. Rajendran, which sought a judicial order to disqualify electoral candidates who did not remove their political advertisements, flags, posts, etc, with “immediate effect” from rock faces, mountains, hills, etc.

The petition arraigned along with the State of Tamil Nadu the Union of India, the Chief Election Commissioner of India and general secretaries of the AIADMK and the DMK and other political parties the pollution control authorities and senior officials.

It challenged a March 3, 2017 decision of the Madras High Court which though agreed with the cause of the petitioner went on to observe that a solution could not be found overnight due to paucity of “official staff and machinery”.

The petition said the High Court observed that it would not be possible for the State to take steps immediately. The cleansing would take some reasonable time.

The petition said paintings and billboards dotted the landscape despite a specific direction from the apex court in the Godavarman Thirumulpad case, reported in 2002, that natural resources should not be disturbed or defaced by ads, hoardings, graffiti, etc.

Mr. Rajendran said the defacement was not restrained to one particular place. It could be seen on bridges, central medians of roads, highways, hills, rocks, etc.

“Ninety per cent of the ads are done by political parties. Authority has not taken any action and not come forward to prevent it,” the petition said.

The lawyer mentions how he had once journeyed from Madurai to Chennai via Trichy and Chengalpet and witnessed first-hand the defacement of the natural landscape with advertisements, graffiti, religious slogans, etc.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 3:17:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sc-reiterates-its-order-to-stop-defacement-of-natural-environment/article26638346.ece