High Court (India)

October 25, 2017

Hoardings, banners featuring live persons banned: Madras HC


Madras High Court

The state government has been directed by the Madras HC to ensure that banners, signboards, flexes and other hoardings do not depict photographs of persons alive, including sponsors for the photographs/pictures therein.

The state government has been directed by the Madras HC to ensure that banners, signboards, flexes and other hoardings do not depict photographs of persons alive, including sponsors for the photographs/pictures therein.

The de facto ban was ordered by Justice S Vaidyanathan to be carried out while dismissing a petition preferred against political hoardings and flags placed on the petitioner’s private property by Mathi, one of the respondents in the case.

The petitioner was compelled to approach the High Court after the respondents declined to take down the hoardings despite repeated requests and intervention by the Chennai Corporation. The petitioner was also said to have been threatened by Mathi on a particular occasion.

Further, it was submitted that when she approached the Inspector of Police to take action against Mathi, the petitioner was told to keep quiet, lest a case be registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

When the Court took up the matter for hearing, the concerned government authorities undertook to ensure that if at all there were hoardings remaining, the same would be taken down forthwith. They also convinced the Court that such act would not be allowed to take place in private residences in the future.

After recording these submissions, the Court directed that the police should register cases against any person objecting to the removal of such hoardings.

In the interest of maintaining a clean atmosphere in the state, and to avoid unnecessary drawings on buildings and residential places, the Court specifically ordered the Chief Secretary to the Government to,

“…ensure that the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959, amended from time to time, are complied with. 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 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.”

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