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Distinction Has To Be Drawn Between Govt & Political Personnel Who Form Such Govt: Madras High Court Asks State To Not Use Symbol Of Ruling Party On Pongal Gifts

Akshita Saxena
27 May 2021 8:54 AM GMT
Distinction Has To Be Drawn Between Govt & Political Personnel Who Form Such Govt: Madras High Court Asks State To Not Use Symbol Of Ruling Party On Pongal Gifts
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"There has always to be a distinction drawn between the government of the day and the political personnel who may form such government," the Madras High Court told the Tamil Nadu Government on Monday. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy therefore asked the State to refrain from using its party symbol on the Pongal gifts being...

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"There has always to be a distinction drawn between the government of the day and the political personnel who may form such government," the Madras High Court told the Tamil Nadu Government on Monday.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy therefore asked the State to refrain from using its party symbol on the Pongal gifts being distributed by the Government.

It observed,

"At the time of relief or largesse being distributed by or on behalf of the Government, it is the Government and only the Government that ought to be projected and not the political party which forms the government. While there may be little room to object to the portrait of the Chief Minister being displayed, since the Chief Minister heads the elected government, the symbol of the ruling party should not be used at any of the distribution centres."

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by one Devraj who submitted that there should not be any promotion of any political party while distributing relief, since the relief is being granted by the State of Tamil Nadu.

He pointed out that the DMK political party (now the ruling party) had itself objected in January, 2021 to Pongal gifts being doled out by the State Government in packages bearing the symbol of the political party then in power. However now, there is a political flavour in the relief packages being distributed to distressed citizens by DMK.

The State on the other hand argued that the situation in January was quite different as the elections were overhead and the Court clearly indicated that the grant of State largesse should not take any political colour or be used as a campaign to garner votes.

The Advocate-General submitted that since no elections are now due, the present scenario cannot be compared to what happened during the distribution of Pongal relief or gifts.

He also informed the Bench that more than 90% of the relief has already been made over to the appropriate persons.

In this backdrop, the Court has ruled,

"For the remainder, the personnel involved in distributing the relief packages or the like should refrain from giving any political colour to the functions."

The Bench also noted that the photographs of the distribution centre clearly indicate that there is crowding and people falling over each other to be in the photo-frame, so to say.

"This must be avoided at all cost, particularly since the State is facing the worst case scenario in the second surge and there is no knowing when the pandemic would subside…Covid protocol has to be maintained at all times, including the distancing norm," the Bench ordered.

Case Title: Devraj v. State & Ors.

Click Here To Download Order

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