No living persons' pics on banners: Madras High Court

Photos of those sponsoring such banners - often their ticket to prominence or at least some attention from leaders - have also been banned.

In an order on Tuesday, the court asked the government to ensure that "photos or pictures of such persons who are alive shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign-boards".

The Madras High Court took this step after a Chennai resident Trilochana Kumari filed a plea after she faced issues with the local civic body near her residence.

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.

The petition was submitted in April after a person named Mathi put up a party flag in front of her property. Later, when she approached the police, the petitioner said that the police declined her application and even threatened her with a case. Instead, she was warned that a case would be registered against her under the provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

"In order to maintain a clean atmosphere in the entire State and to avoid unnecessary drawings on walls of buildings/residential places, this court directs the Chief Secretary to ensure that a clean atmosphere is maintained in that regard in the wards of the town panchayat/panchayat union/municipality/corporation etc". On one occasion, the petitioner was also said to have been threatened by Mathi.

An irked Kumari, a resident of Rani Anna Nagar, had asked the court to order the Chennai Corporation and the city commissioner of police to initiate the removal of party banners and flags put up in front of her property. They also assured the Court that no such act would be allowed to take place in private residences in the future.

The judge in his order said that if any banner or party flag post are erected, it should be removed forthwith.

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