The valedictory of MGR centenary celebrations, which happened in Chennai Sunday, choked the roads of the city in more ways than one. While the buses and vans that brought ‘AIADMK workers’ from all over the State hit traffic on arterial roads, the hoardings erected for the event occupied Anna Salai and GST Road and gave little or no space for pedestrians to move about. Just hours ahead of the meeting, the Madras High Court, in a special hearing, ordered removal of unauthorised flex boards erected on the occasion in Chennai.
The High Court ordered the authorities to take strict action against violators. More than 1,500 unauthorised banners had mushroomed in the city for the celebration, if one is to go by reports. The ‘banner culture’ that started in the early 1990s has so far received many reprimands from the court, but still thrives. Not just the ruling party, but every other party in these parts is to be blamed for this. In the name of showing their might, little do office-bearers of parties understand that they are snatching away the basic right of the citizen – to walk on the pathway.
Even on Sunday, the court expressed its strong disapproval of the hoardings and said: “When a statutory provision cast duty on the Commissioner of Chennai Corporation to remove and confiscate unauthorised banners and hoardings erected in contravention of statute, the said duty has to be discharged in its letter and spirit.” The HC also stated that it had not been notified whether any penal action has been taken on persons who had violated the statute. Officials should understand that they are not just answerable to their political bosses, but also to the judiciary and people. For their part, political parties should subject themselves to self-regulation.