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'Abhorring, Misuse Of Public Funds': Madras High Court Interdicts State From Printing Photos Of Chief Ministers On Textbooks, Schoolbags

Aaratrika Bhaumik
9 Sep 2021 11:30 AM GMT
Abhorring, Misuse Of Public Funds: Madras High Court Interdicts State From Printing Photos Of Chief Ministers On Textbooks, Schoolbags
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The Madras High Court on Tuesday reprimanded the practice of displaying photographs of Chief Ministers or other public functionaries on school bags, textbooks and stationery to be used by school children and accordingly directed that such a practice must be discontinued with immediate effect. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu termed such a practice...

The Madras High Court on Tuesday reprimanded the practice of displaying photographs of Chief Ministers or other public functionaries on school bags, textbooks and stationery to be used by school children and accordingly directed that such a practice must be discontinued with immediate effect.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu termed such a practice as 'abhorring' and observed,

"It is abhorring that school books or school bags meant for school-going children, who do not have a right to vote, would carry photographs of public functionaries, even if the functionary is the Chief Minister of the State. Public funds cannot be misused for printing photographs for the personal interests of any politician. The State should ensure that such practice is not continued in future."

The order was passed in a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to ensure that the unused stocks of text books, school bags and stationery used by children and which carry the names and photographs of previous Chief Ministers should not be wasted since considerable public funds have been expended for the purpose.

Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram appearing for the State apprised the Court on Tuesday that a statement had been issued by Chief Minster MK Stalin on the floor of the State Assembly stipulating that the government would use school bags, textbooks and stationery bearing such photos until they are all exhausted so as to prevent wastage.

"It is also submitted on behalf of the State that the Chief Minister does not desire his photographs to be published in such material in future.", the order noted further.

Thus, the petition was disposed of with the following observation,

"Accordingly, no further order needs to be made except directing the State that extreme care and caution should be taken to ensure that public funds are not expended for publicity purposes of political leaders, including in hoardings and other material. However, photographs of the Chief Minister may be carried but that should be restricted to advertisements in newspapers and some hoardings and certainly not used on text books or exercise books or any educational material at all."

Case Title: Oveyam Ranjan v. The State of Tamil Nadu and ors

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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