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Madras High Court permits welcome banners for Modi-Xi Summit

File photo: Madras High Court Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Oct 03, 2019, 03.22 PM (IST) Written By: Sidharth MP Edited By: Riya Gupta

The Madras High Court on Thursday permitted the Tamil Nadu State Government to erect banners from the Chennai airport till Mahabalipuram town to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping who are to have an informal summit in the Mahabalipuram town over the next weekend. 

The Division Bench of Justice Sathyanarayanan and Justice Seshasayee stated that permission was not required as the ban on flex banners applied only to political parties, while also making it clear that the banners must be erected in a manner that does not inconvenience to the public. The Court also said that no political parties would be allowed to erect banners.

The State Government in its affidavit submitted to the Madras High Court, on Tuesday, said that all over the state political parties were not permitted to erect banners, but since PM Modi and Xi are visiting Mahabalipuram during October 11-12 for an informal summit, as part of bilateral relations and a goodwill gesture it is customary to erect banners to welcome the dignitaries. 

The state government mentioned that the Ministry of External Affairs has proposed to put up welcome banners in Chennai in 14 locations, nine locations in East Coast Road, two locations in Mahabalipuram. Where the state government would erect banners in five locations in Chennai, four locations in Mahabalipuram and seven locations in Old Mahabalipuram Road and East Coast Road. 

The above welcome banners will be put up from October 9 to 13. The welcome banners will be in places as per the specifications mentioned in the existing rules and it would be ensured that these banners would not cause any hindrance to the public. The strictest standards of safety would be maintained.

The banner culture has been a talking point in Tamil Nadu over the last month, after the tragic death of 23-year old Techie Subhasree, who was run over by a lorry after an illegal banner fell on her, while she was riding her bike. In 2017, the court had banned hoardings and flex boards featuring living persons, however, the banner culture has continued to block pedestrian walkways and arterial roads unabated. 

In December 2018, the Madras High Court restrained all the political parties in Tamil Nadu from erecting digital banners and hoardings on arterial roads posing a risk to road users and pedestrians, until further orders.

On Wednesday, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan had appealed to PM Modi on Twitter, requesting him to put an end to the banner culture, as the Madras High Court is expected to respond on Thursday to permissions sought by the state government for erecting banners ahead of the Modi-Xi Jinping informal summit that is to take place over the following weekend in Mahabalipuram.

Haasan Tweeted, ''Honorable @PMOIndia While Thamizh Nadu and Thamizhians are struggling to cope up with the loss of Shubasri’s death, the Thamizh Nadu Government has approached the courts to obtain permission to erect your banners. If you act as a pioneer in taking the first step to put an end to this haphazard banner culture, it will reflect your concern towards the sentiments of Thamizhians, and that in itself will garner you the greatest publicity possible. Jai Hind!”

Story highlights

The state government mentioned that the Ministry of External Affairs has proposed to put up welcome banners in Chennai in 14 locations, nine locations in East Coast Road, two locations in Mahabalipuram.