Chennai: A Madras High Court bench, headed by Justice S Vaidyanathan, has directed the state government to ensure banners, signboards, flexes and other hoardings do not depict photographs of living persons.
The court ordered the de facto ban be implemented as it decided a petition against political hoardings and flags placed on the petitioner’s private property by Mathi, one of the respondents in the case.
The petitioner, B Thirulochana Kumari, said that the respondents refused to remove the hoarding and flags despite repeated requests. Even the Chennai Corporation had intervened in the matter but could not resolve the dispute.
The authorities concerned have now assured the court that the hoardings will be taken down at the earliest. They have also assured the bench that no such act will be repeated in the future.
On one occasion, the petitioner was also said to have been threatened by Mathi.
Kumari further alleged that when she approached the police to take action against Mathi, she was told to keep quiet, lest a case be registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The court has ordered that the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959, be amended from time to time and ensure that even if permission is granted to erect hoardings, it is ensured that no living person features in any of the depictions.
The Court also directed the police to register cases against any person objecting to the removal of such hoardings.
"The authority concerned shall ensure that the photographs/ pictures of such persons who are alive, shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc. It is further directed to ensure that the photographs/ pictures of the persons, who are sponsoring for the photographs/ pictures, shall also not be depicted," reads the order.