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Invite applications for licences to erect hoardings: HC to govt
The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to receive applications from members of Chennai Hoardings Association (CHA) for issuance of licence for erecting hoardings in private lands and buildings.
A division bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad offered the relief, pending disposal of the main plea, which has sought to declare Act No 40 of Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws (Fifth Amendment) Act, 2018, the outdoor advertisement policy of the State, which prohibited hoardings in private lands and private buildings.
“Taking note of the averments made in the supporting affidavit and placing on record the submission of both parties, application is ordered. The respondents are directed to receive the application for issuance of licence for erecting hoardings from the members of the petitioner, pending disposal of the writ petition,” the bench said in an order.
The association, represented by its president KC Chandrasekaran, had contended that the impugned legislation which excludes private land was paving way for unfair trade practice and monopoly. As a result, only a few stood to benefit from the legislation.
The legislation does not give any opportunity for minor stakeholders in the trade, whose livelihood depend on it, he said. The petitioner also noted that besides the astronomical fee levied as licence fee, the amendment was more a restriction and not a regulation and hence curbs the rights of citizens to practice any trade.
Further submitting that the State had already admitted in its counter filed before the Madurai Bench that omission of private places was actually an unfair restriction, the plea said by virtue of the court granting an interim stay on the amendment, the members have entered into contracts for providing service to their clients. But interference of the authorities has made it impossible for them to perform the contracts, the plea said.
“We are not only facing grave injury to our reputation but are also facing loss of income. Needless to add that we cannot afford to pay the damages for failing to perform the contracts and are running out of resources to earn our income,” the plea added.