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Defacement in public places: HC says violators must pay

Madras-Chennai_High_Court

Chennai: The Madras High Court today made it clear that the financial repercussions must flow to violators who must pay for expenditure incurred for removing defacements of public places.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan gave the direction on a contempt petition by social activist ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy and another PIL by advocate ‘Elephant’ Rajendran seeking action for alleged non-implemention of its January 9, 2014 order.

The court after perusing the report filed by the state government, said it showed some progress has been made in cleaning up defacements. The aggravation of the problem was apparent from the fact that fresh defacements were still taking place even on rocks and natural areas, it said.

The bench said it had kept this matter for today to see progress of the work as Additional Advocate General P H Arvind Pandian had requested it on the previous hearing that it would require about three months to complete the task.

It examined photos filed before it by Rajendran and said these once again showed the defacement of the natural areas, as also over a bridge and sides of the roads.

The court said prima facie it observed that apart from commercial defacements, political parties were equally guilty of defacing public properties and natural resources.

It recalled emphasising to the AAG that not only have the defacements to be cleared, but the financial repercussions must flow to the violators, who must pay for expenses incurred for removal of defacements.

Simultaneously, prosecution must be launched, it said.

Once this is done, the details may be given to the court for fast tracking those matters, it said.

The bench referred to suggestions of the court-appointed amicus curiae and Rajendran and said one suggestion was that the parties must take responsibility of having violated the law.

The court said it felt it would be appropriate that the respondent authorities issue notices to all recognised parties to ensure that the defacements they did were properly removed and the costs are borne by them.

“The notices may be issued within 15 days from today, giving the political parties one month’s time to take remedial measures and undertake not to do so in future,” he said.

When it was brought to its notice that a complaint had already been made to the Election Commission to derecognise political parties for violating the law, the bench said if any petition is filed in this behalf it would be examined.

On June 13, the court had directed the Tamil Nadu government to invoke penal provisions if any fresh violation was detected.

–PTI

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