Kerala HC comes down on "Bharat Jodo" for illegal hoardingstext_fields
Kochi: Issuing a sharp note, the Kerala High Court came down on the Congress's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', which caused erecting banners and flex boards along roadsides. On Thursday evening, the court also chided government departments, including the state police, for ignoring the menace, PTI reported.
The court of Justice Devean Ramachandran observed that it was a tragedy that orders of the court and other competent authorities were given no respect.
After a request by amicus curiae Harish Vasudevan, the court convened an urgent hearing on the matter. Vasudevan filed a report, including photographs suggesting a political party's procession across the state has caused the placing of banners, boards, flags and similar things illegally.
The court said in its order, "Illegal installations have been made by a particular political party on every side of National Highway from Trivandrum to Thrissur and even beyond; and that even though the police authorities and other statutory authorities are fully aware of this, they have chosen to turn a blind eye to it."
But it has not named the Congress or the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The court sought the Local Self Government Department's Principal Secretary and the state police chief's response, by Friday afternoon, on how the illegal items were erected and why they were not removed.
The court ordered, "When the above official respondents respond, they shall also advert specifically to the earlier directions of this Court, that every board which has been put up by an advertising agency/printer without its name or address embedded on it is illegal and that necessary action against them should also be taken."
The court asked why it has to repeatedly remind the officers about the matter after there are specific orders from the court. Also, there are state government orders and road safety authority's mandates.
"These illegal installations cause great danger to motorists since their attention would be distracted while moving through the highway; and there is also the real danger of some of these installations coming loose and creating havoc, particularly with respect to two-wheelers, as we have seen in other parts of the country earlier...," the court stated.
The court also pointed out the extent of waste generated by these installations, challenging the Local Self Government institutions or any competent authrotiy.
"This Court, certainly, wonders why the official authorities are not aware of such issues, particularly when our state can no longer take the climate or weather for granted. In fact, Harish Vasudevan has also added that, in many places where such illegal installations have been put up with impunity, there are heavy rains and the danger of this contributing to violent accidents can certainly be not kept aside," the court said.
The court asserted that the thoughtless actions of a few, along with the authority's indifference, cannot stop the court from its resolve to make the state a safer place.