Remove unauthorised flag poles by 1 April: Madras HC

Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed election officials to remove all unauthorised flag poles of political parties in public places throughout Tamilnadu by 1 April.

A bench comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad on Monday gave the direction on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a complete ban on erection of poles in public places.

Petitioner A Radhakrishnan of Salem submitted that most of the political parties ‘encroached’ upon public places such as roadside, parks and play grounds and erect their flagpoles permanently, causing hindrance.

Claiming that there had been clashes due to dispute between rival political parties over flag poles, he said using power drilling machines while digging for temporary erection of poles during party conferences, public meetings also damaged underground telecom and power cables.

When the PIL came up for hearing, the Tamilnadu government counsel submitted that 58,172 flag poles in rural and urban areas had been removed and another 799 were being dismantled.

Election Commission standing counsel Niranjan Rajagopalan, citing reports from 21 district Collectors-cum-district election officers, said the flag poles had been removed in these districts. Steps were being taken to remove the unauthorised poles in the rest 11 districts in the State, he added. Recording the submissions, the bench posted the matter to 1 April for further hearing.

NT Bureau