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Kerala HC slams govt over issue of unauthorised flags, banners

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Kerala (VSK). Kerala High Court on Monday asked the state government to come clean on whether it wants resolution to the issue of putting up of illegal flag posts, boards and banners in Kerala. Court asked the State to not to play a ‘hide and seek’ game with the court.

Observing that the court had been dealing with the said issue for nearly four years, Justice Devan Ramachandran said – “If the Government feels that this court should not proceed further and that matters should be as it was four years ago, then we should eschew claims of creating a new Kerala and be happy with the status quo”.

According to a report by Live Law, the court added it was powerless as its orders were not being implemented.

The court even remarked that when it directs that its orders are to be implemented, the judges are criticised and called activists. Such directions are branded as ‘judicial activism’.

During the hearing, it was submitted by the amicus curiae Harish Vasudevan, that despite repeated orders of the court, the situation regarding the illegal erection of flag posts and banners, in several parts of Kalamassery and Aluva, has not changed.

The court took special notice of the violations by the Association of Scrap Dealers and a political party.

It was averred by the amicus curiae that no action was taken by the secretaries of the municipal councils on account of the pressure imposed by the violators, who are either politically connected or otherwise influential.

Additional Advocate General Ashok M. Cherian, instructed by the Senior Government Pleader S. Kannan, submitted that the government was aware of the same, but enforcement was often a problem.

The court observed that if political parties themselves displayed their boards and flags ‘with impunity’, “others will certainly be persuaded to follow”.

“You say, this is democracy. It is not democracy to peril another man’s life”, the court orally observed.

The court said the boards and posts raised by the entities along the sidewalks were of danger to the traffic and pedestrians. It however added that the secretaries of local self-governments were powerless to remove the same since these were vested in the NHAI and no support was received from the police either.

The court noted that until present it had been acting with great circumspection, however to no avail. It warned that punitive actions may have to be taken if its orders were to have any meaning.

The secretaries of the Kalamassery Municipality and Aluva Municipality, along with the police officers of the local stations were directed to be present in the court on October 19, 2022.

The NHAI was also impleaded as a party by the court in the case. The Deputy Solicitor General, S. Manu and the Standing Counsel Bidan Chandran took notice.

The court had earlier, pulled up the Government for its failure to implement the directions for removal of illegal flags and banners erected along the highways in the State by various political parties, and had expressed its dismay that the court was being accused of aligning with certain political parties while passing such orders.

 

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