The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday directed the state government to avoid painting government buildings with colours associated with political parties. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a man from Guntur district named Muppa Venkateswara Rao, who had approached the HC objecting to the painting of the Panchayat office in his village of Pallapadu in Vatticheruku mandal, Times of India reported.
Several Panchayat offices, village secretariats and other government buildings have been painted in the white, blue and green colours of the ruling YSRCP, ever since Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power. Upon seeing that there was no official action against the move to paint the Gram Panchayat office, Venkateswara Rao approached the court.
According to DC, a Division Bench of the HC headed by Chief Justice J K Maheswari and Justice M Venkata Ramana has directed the District Collector of Guntur to present the details of expenses incurred in painting government buildings with the ruling party colours, and also explain the reasons for it by the next hearing on December 23. The bench has also sought information on who ordered the painting, how much it cost and how it was allowed.
The petition reportedly states that painting of the Panchayat office, which counts as public property, with colours of a political party is unconstitutional, arbitrary and illegal, reported ToI. The Chief Justice noted that the colours could also influence voting, with the petitioner pointing out that the Panchayat elections are fast approaching in a few weeks. The bench is also reported to have directed the petitioner to give a representation to the State Election Commission.
While it was argued that the practice is not new, and a reference was made to the Anna canteen buildings painted yellow, the party colour of the previous Telugu Desam Party government, the Chief Justice however objected to the argument.
In the past six months since the YSRCP government has come to power, the painting of not just government buildings but other structures like water tanks etc., with the YSRCP colours and symbols has garnered attention, with many criticising the government and party workers for wasting money instead of focusing on development works.