The Madras High Court has asked authorities concerned to file their counter and status reports by January 9 in a PIL seeking a direction to ban flagpoles in public places.
A division bench of Justice M Satyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam, before which the plea came up recently, said in an interim order that statutory provisions would prima facie disclose that erection of flagpoles by any political party or organization without license or permission was prohibited.
But the provisions are complied with rather in the breach and local body authorities for reasons best know to them turn a "blind eye to the said unlawful cases," the court said recently.
It said putting up flagpoles pose a threat to safety of pedestrians and road-users and it may be the state's duty to compensate the victims in the event of the poles collapsing on them.
Therefore, the bench said, it is for the local bodies to ensure no flagpoles come up on road margins or pavements or arches without permission.
The plea, filed by A Radhakrishnan from Salem, said one of the guidelines issued by the State Election Commission was for removal of flagpoles of all political parties already erected in public places.
He said the commission had issued direction to the police and revenue officials to remove all flagpoles and hoardings put up by the political parties.
Besides, the petitioner said, erecting flagpoles temporarily during conferences and public meetings by digging the ground endanger underground telecom cables and electric cables, among others.
He said these activities violated the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Public Property Damages and Loss Act.
Recording the submission, the bench directed the registry to send a copy of the interim order to director of Municipal administration and the Commissioner of Corporation of Greater Chennai and DGP and posted the matter for further hearing to January 9.
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