The Madras High Court on Wednesday denied that it had allowed flex boards to be put up for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping as it slammed the media for “misreporting”.
“We did not grant permission for erecting flex boards, we only said follow rules. Media carried a wrong message to the public without reading the order properly. Next time, if we come across misreporting of court orders, everybody will be put to the pain of contempt,” the court said.
Giving its green signal to erect the flex boards on the 60km stretch, a division bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee had earlier in the month said the permission was not really required since it had only restrained political parties from putting up hoardings, and not the government.
The DMK had opposed the government plea, alleging that there was a ‘hidden agenda’ and the possibility that the ruling AIADMK wants to “erect many banners”.
The petition, filed by the commissioner of municipal administration on behalf of the government, had stated that authorities were not giving permission for banners throughout the state after the court had come down heavily on the hoarding culture, after the death of a 23-year-old software engineer last month.
The Madras HC had earlier banned erection of hoardings on roadsides and slammed the government for not effectively implementing its order in the wake of the death of the woman techie.
The 23-year-old woman was riding a two-wheeler when an illegal hoarding fell on her and she was run over by a tanker from behind. The death had led to outrage in Chennai, prompting political parties to ask their respective cadre to stop erecting hoardings and banners.
After the incident, the Madras HC had directed the Tamil Nadu government and Chennai municipal corporation to take disciplinary action against officials who failed to take cognisance of the illegally put up flex board that fell and led to the woman’s death.
The court had also asked the state government to submit a report mentioning steps to eradicate banner culture and actions taken in the particular incident.