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Clean TN: Madras HC Bans Unnecessary Banners, Photos, Flags, Drawings On The Wall; No Banner To Feature Live Person, Sponsors [Read Order]

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25 Oct 2017 4:43 AM GMT
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To maintain clean atmosphere in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has banned erection of hoardings, banners, sign-boards, flags, drawings on the walls without due permission while expressly stating that any banner, put up with permission, should not feature any living person or the sponsors.

Justice S Vaidyanathan ordered the Chief Secretary to issue a circular to all town panchayats, wards etc to carry out the ban.

“In order to maintain clean atmosphere in all the areas of the entire State of Tamil Nadu, and to avoid unnecessary drawings on the walls of the buildings/residential places in the areas, this Court directs the Chief Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu to ensure that clean atmosphere is maintained in that regard… If at all any permission is given by the authority concerned for erecting banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc., the authority concerned shall ensure that the photographs/pictures of such persons who are alive, shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc,” the court ordered.

The ban was announced while deciding the petition moved by petitioner B Thirulochana Kumari, praying for issuance of a writ of mandamus to direct the Commissioner, Corporation of Chennai, to remove the party board, banner and flag put up in front of her property at Navalar Street, Arumbakkam, by a person named Mathi, who was one of the respondents in the petition.

The court ordered the Corporation of Chennai and the Police Commissioner that, “if any banner or party flag post are erected (in front of petitioner’s property), it should be removed forthwith. Whoever objects to such removal of party flag/banner, etc., the name and address of such person shall be furnished to the Police, so that the Police shall register a case against such person”.

The petitioner was forced to move court as her representations made before the corporation early this year for removal of the encroachment fell on deaf ears.

It was in April 2017 that the sign-board etc had come up before her property which had been vacated by the tenant, a mechanic.

On 13.04.2017, the petitioner sent a representation to the commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the Corporation of Chennai about the encroachment in front of her property and causing nuisance.

The police also did not act on her representation. The corporation informed her in May that necessary instructions have been given for removing the party flag and sign-board.

The board was removed only to be put up again and the petitioner was threatened with dire consequences if she protested, including implication in a case under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Mathi appeared in person before the court and denied having abused or threatened the petitioner.

The corporation told the bench that the banner, political party flag, etc., in front of the petitioner's property had been removed and that the police will ensure that no such incident takes place and no such party flag/banner is erected and no political drawings on the wall in any of the residences of the people in the city are made without the consent of the owners of the property.

To this, the petitioner informed that the board and flag were removed once, but came up again.

While taking note of the submissions, the bench ordered, “In order to maintain clean atmosphere in all the areas of the entire State of Tamil Nadu, and to avoid unnecessary drawings on the walls of the buildings/residential places in the areas, this Court directs the Chief Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu to ensure that clean atmosphere is maintained in that regard in the Wards of the Town Panchayat/Panchayat Union/Municipality/Corporation, etc. and shall also ensure that the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959, amended from time to time, are complied with.”

“If at all any permission is given by the authority concerned for erecting banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc., the authority concerned shall ensure that the photographs/pictures of such persons who are alive, shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc.

“It is further directed to ensure that the photographs/pictures of the persons, who are sponsoring for the photographs/pictures, shall also not be depicted. In the context of all the above directions, the Chief Secretary shall send circular to all office bearers of the Wards of the Town Panchayat/Panchayat Union/Municipality/Corporation etc,” Justice Vaidyanathan ordered.

Read the Order Here

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