Madras HC bans photos of living persons on banners, hoardings in Tamil Nadu
The high court was hearing a plea by a Chennai resident who had asked the local civic body to remove a party board, banner and a flag erected in front of her house.
The Madras high court on Tuesday banned the use of pictures of living persons on banners and hoardings in Tamil Nadu, where towering cut-outs of politicians and actors are almost a part of the local culture.
The court asked Tamil Nadu’s top official to maintain a clean environment and also ensure that there were “no unnecessary drawings” on buildings and residential places in all wards of the southern state.
“If at all any permission is given by the authority concerned for erecting banners, flex boards, sign-boards, etc, the authority concerned shall ensure that the photos/pictures of such persons who are alive, shall not be depicted by way of those banners, flex boards, sign boards etc,” justice S Vaidyanathan said.
It means that pictures of the chief minister, ministers or politicians can no longer be used in posters or hoardings, often put up as a show of strength and support – larger the better.
The court has also barred use of photos of people sponsoring the pictures.
The court was hearing a plea by Chennai resident B Thirulochana Kumari who had asked the local civic body to remove a party board, banner and a flag erected in front of her home by a Mathi.
The petitioner said police declined to accept her application and instead threatened her with a case under the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (prevention of atrocities) act.
Asking the chief secretary to ensure clean surroundings, the court told the official to ensure that provisions of the Tamil Nadu open places (prevention of disfigurement) act, 1959, were amended from time to time.
Many Twitter users welcomed the decision, saying banners and posters in public areas hindered traffic and dirtied the environment. But, others wondered how the advertising industry would react to the order.
Politicians and celebrities are often elevated to a god-like status in Tamil Nadu. Supporters raising shrines to their leaders and fans bathing their favourite actors’ cut-outs in milks are a common phenomenon in the state, where cinema has huge influence on politics.
(With PTI inputs)