CHENNAI: Madras High Court has ordered issuance of bailable warrants against 42 firms, engaged in advertisement business, for not appearing before the Court despite service of notices.
The first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh gave the direction on Wednesday while passing further interim orders on a PIL from one Muthukrishnan of Tondiarpet praying for a direction to the Chennai District Collector to remove all the unauthorised hoardings, initiate criminal proceedings against the ad companies and deface the illegal hoardings.
The bench noted that the 42 firms, carrying on the ad business, had been intimated about today’s hearing by serving personal notices and were also informed that they would be impleaded as party respondents. But they did not make it. “We are not willing to accept the position, where such parties keep away from court proceedings and break the law. We have, thus, no option but to issue bailable warrants against the officers/managing directors of the respective entities and impose a sum of `10,000 with one surety each for a like sum towards bond,” the bench said.
The Additional Advocate-General submitted that as many as 219 hoardings have been removed as on April 7. He clarified that two hoardings required specialised removal, as they were located next to a transformer and they would be removed shortly. As for as the six hoadings on railway land, its counsel told the judges that the hoardings on railway land too would require permission from the Corporation. If permission has not been obtianed from the corporation, the latter is free to remove the same.
There are about 20 writ petitions with regard to hoardings on railway lands, where the parties may be enjoying interim orders, and thus those matters should also be posted before this court. The bench directed the Registry to post those petitions as a batch on the next date of hearing. The AAG said that in 40 more cases, even after removal, there is an endeavour to put back some kind of structure so that subsequently hoardings can be installed.
The bench said the police would be well within its rights to take such people in custody for interrogation.