CHENNAI: It is now illegal to erect arches, placards and display boards, banners with poles abutting into streets and pavements, which obstruct free and safe movement of traffic, pedestrians and visibility of drivers in the State.
The First Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave the ruling while directing the authorities to remove all the illegal arches, hoardings, banners erected on roads and streets in connection with the centenary celebrations of former CM M G Ramachandran in Coimbatore, scheduled to be held on December 2.
When a Public Interest Litigation petition from DMK MLA from Singanallur constituency N Karthick came up for hearing on Thursday, Advocate-general Vijay Narayan submitted that all illegal arches, hoardings, banners are being removed.
The bench said its attention had also been drawn to news reports of the unfortunate incident of the death of a young engineer, which according to the petitioner, was by reason of erection of arches abutting into the road. Advocate general submitted that the accident took place because a corporation garbage removal truck was being driven on the wrong side of the road.
On perusal of photos and other materials, it appears that the accident may have been averted but for the arches abutting into the road. Of course, this observation was not to be construed as any finding of this court with regard to the cause of accident. The fact remains that arches abutting into roads are hazardous to pedestrians, the bench added.
The bench said, “All arches, display boards, hoardings, placards and banners with poles or frames etc., fixed to and/or dug into the ground, which abut into highways, public streets and pedestrian pavements shall forthwith be removed. No poles or frames or structures for arches, boards, placards, hoardings, display boards or banners shall be erected on any highway, public road, public passage or pedestrian pathway or pavement.
Holes caused on pavements and roads by reason of erection of frames, poles, structures, placards, hoardings, display boards, banners etc., shall forthwith be repaired. This order will not, however, prevent the respondents (authorities) from erecting and/or permitting the erection/setting up of display boards, hoardings, placards and banners which do not abut into pedestrian pathways, streets and highways, strictly in accordance with law”.
The bench disposed of the petition, which sought to declare the erection of dangerous hoardings, banners, arches and flex boards etc., on roads, passages and pavements in Coimbatore city without permission from the competent authority, was illegal.
The bench said in the petition, it was pleaded that the state government was celebrating the birth centenary of MGR, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, in various places in the state.
“The question was whether celebrations to mark the centenary of a leader warrants the erection of hoardings, banners, arches, flex-boards, display boards and the like in contravention of law. The answer to the aforesaid question cannot but be in the negative,” the bench added.