CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the State government to ensure that banners and flex boards in public places do not carry photos of living people.
The order, passed by Justice S Vaidyanathan on Monday, did not explain why the court felt the need to ban images of living people.
“If at all any permission is given by the authority concerned for erecting banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc., the authority concerned shall ensure that photographs/pictures of such persons who are alive, shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc,” the order, which issued the directions to the Chief Secretary of the State, read.
“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 (sic)”. The order means that only photos of deceased people can be depicted on banners, flex boards or sign boards.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by a man whose tenant apparently erected a flag and sign board in front of the premises, blocking the way to the building.
Based on the Chennai Corporation and police’s submissions that the board would be removed, the court disposed of the petition and passed the directions that could impact not just political parties, but also those who raise banners for events like weddings. While the court referred to the TN Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959 to ensure a clean atmosphere in public places, it did not touch upon the reason for banning images of living persons.
What raked up the issue?
The High Court was passing the order on a petition filed by Chennai resident B Thirulochana Kumari, whose tenant had apparently erected a flag and sign board of a political party in front of the premises, blocking the way to the building.