Despite repeated warnings from the courts, political parties in Tamil Nadu have continued to put up banners and hoardings in violation of the law. Coming down heavily on parties in the state, the Madras High Court on Thursday said that it would deal with the issue with "iron hands."
According to one report in the Times of India, a division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam were reportedly upset over the continued violations. They said, â€śDespite several court orders and statutory rules erection of unauthorised digital banners by political parties are continuing. District Collector, Chennai Corporation Commissioner, and police had turned blind eye to such rampant illegality. The court also knows with pain that the executive authorities who must implement and adhere to the law at times becomes subservient to political parties and do not take action either out of fear or otherwise.â€ť
The court was listening to a petition against the erection of such banners, moved by Traffic Ramaswamy.
The bench further said, â€śThis court takes judicial notice of the fact that right on the footpath of many arterial roads more particularly Kamarajar Salai as it is the rout taken by VIPs and ministers most of the times the banners project on the road causing hardship to road users. This court also brings to the notice of authorities concerned that if it comes across such violation it may not hesitate to deal with said issue with iron hands by summoning the printer, sponsor, as well as the people whose picture appear on such banners.â€ť
The courtâ€™s remarks were in reference to the MGR centenary celebrations which saw miles of illegal hoardings and banners in commemoration of the birth anniversary of former CM MG Ramamchandran. Beginning late last year, a number of people met with accidents because of these arches, banners and flag poles erected for the months long MGR centenary celebrations. In some cases, such as Ragu from Coimbatore, it resulted in death.
Despite a 2017 Madras High Court ban on hoardings and flex boards featuring living persons, the ruling AIADMK as well as several other parties in the state have repeatedly violated rules to erect large cut-outs of political leaders, blocking footpaths in the state.