Long arm of law

Exposing official apathy in two cases, the Madras High Court Monday raised serious questions which need to be answered by the authorities. The first case was in connection with the FIR filed with regard to malpractices committed during by-election to RK Nagar. The court was shocked when State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan said the FIR registered by the police on a complaint from the Election Commission regarding the bribing during the by-poll to RK Nagar Assembly constituency, had been quashed. It took a serious view of the officials not complying with its earlier direction on filing status reports on the investigation into the initial FIR.

Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam called for an explanation from S Manoharan, former Joint Commissioner of Police, Chennai city, and incumbent officer T S Anbu as to how the case got quashed and why they had not filed any status report on the investigation before the bench.

The other case related to erection of digital banners on the eve of MGR centenary celebrations. The Madras High Court Monday directed the city Corporation Commissioner to produce all relevant records relating to applications from the Tamilnadu government and political parties for erection of digital banners on the eve of centenary celebrations of the former Chief Minister.

Also, it directed the city Police Commissioner to produce the no-objection certificate issued by the traffic wing. The same division bench of Justices Sathyanarayanan and Rajamanickam issued the directive on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition of ‘Traffic’ K R Ramaswamy seeking action against illegal banners. Also, the bench directed the government pleader in-charge, Jayaprakash Narayan, to file status reports on the erection of the banners throughout the state and on the permission granted by the local bodies as well as the police. Earlier, on 29 November, the bench had warned that if it comes across illegal banners, it may not hesitate to deal with an iron hand the printer, sponsor and people whose pictures appear on such banners. It is sad that officials should be reminded of their duty by the court. But, it is also heartwarming that at least the court is there to ensure that things are in place.

NT Bureau