The Madras High Court on Tuesday banned the use of “photographs or pictures” of living persons on “banners, flex boards, signboards” across the state.
In its direction to the state chief secretary, the court said: “If at all any permission is given by the authority concerned for erecting banners, flex boards, signboards, etc, the authority concerned shall ensure that the photographs or pictures of such persons who are alive shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, signboards etc.”
Justice S Vaidyanathan issued the order while hearing a petition filed by B Thirulochana Kumari, a resident of Rani Anna Nagar, who asked the court to direct the Chennai Corporation and the city commissioner of police to remove party banners and flags put up in front of her property.
The petitioner submitted that in April, a person named Mathi put up a party flag in front of her property. When she objected, Kumari was allegedly threatened by party workers. She then reportedly approached the Chennai Corporation and the police, but the latter refused to file her complaint.
While the flag post was later removed, a signboard and party flag were put up at the same place. Kumari complained that when she approached the Arumbakkam police station again, she was warned that a case would be registered against her under the provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
During the hearing, however, the concerned government departments, including the city corporation officials, submitted to the court that the banners and flags erected in front of Kumari’s property would be removed.
The court then directed the chief secretary to ensure that the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959 were complied with.
“It is further directed to ensure that the photographs or pictures of the persons, who are sponsoring such banners, shall also not be depicted,” said Justice Vaidyanathan.
The court also directed the chief secretary to send a circular in this regard to all office-bearers of the wards of the town panchayat, panchayat union, municipality and corporation.