In a first in India, the Madras High Court yesterday passed a judgement that puts a ban on the use of “photographs or pictures” of living persons to be put up on “banners, flex boards, signboards” across the state of Tamil Nadu.
The top court of the state also asked Tamil Nadu’s top official to clean the environment and to ensure that there remains no speck of “no unnecessary drawings” adorning the buildings and houses across the entire state.
The decision was passed by a bench headed by Justice S Vaidyanathan while hearing a petition filed by B Thirulochana Kumari, a resident of Rani Anna Nagar, who urged the High Court to direct the Chennai Municipal Corporation as well as the commissioner of police to remove the huge banners of political parties right in front of her home.
In filing such a petition, Kumari also reported that in April, a party member named Mathi had put up posters right in front of her house. However, on objecting to it, Kumari was allegedly threatened by party workers. Thereafter, she went to the Chennai Corporation as well as the city police, with the latter simply refusing to register her grievance.
It is to be noted that the entire state, especially the capital city Chennai, is famous for having towering cut-outs of politicians and actors adorning the streets and roads.
While passing the judgement, Justice S Vaidyanathan noted:
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 photos/pictures of such persons who are alive, shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign boards etc.
Furthermore, the court also directed the chief secretary to ensure that the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959 were complied with. The judge then said:
It is further directed to ensure that the photographs or pictures of the persons, who are sponsoring such banners, shall also not be depicted.
The chief secretary of the state has been directed to send a circular in this regard to all office-bearers of the wards of the town panchayat, panchayat union, municipality and corporation at the earliest.