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Inform status of flag poles on highways, Collectors told
The Madras High Court directed the collectors of all districts in the State to submit a status report on the existing number of flag poles near State and National Highways with or without permission, and the steps taken for their removal.
A division bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad, before whom the plea came up for hearing, said, “Almost three months have elapsed from December 3, 2018, when this court directed the State authorities to file status reports/counter affidavits. Though E Manoharan, Additional Government Pleader, submitted that Highways department has taken up the exercise of removing the flagpoles, there are no materials to back the same.”
Besides, the district collectors, the bench also directed the Additional Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, to file a consolidated report for all the districts, with copies of reports submitted by the district collectors. In the capital city, the Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation was directed to file a similar status report. The National Highways Authority of India, Chennai, was also directed to submit a status report and the details of action taken. The case has been posted for further hearing to March 25.
The public interest litigation was moved in 2016, charging that political parties were erecting flagpoles near State and National Highways.
The petitioner had pointed out that in the light of ensuing election to various Legislative Assembly Constituencies in the State, the Election Commission had issued a code of conduct and guidelines, and one of which is removal of flagpole of all political parties that were erected in public places.
The petitioner also submitted that erecting of flagpoles temporarily during conferences and public meetings by using power drills endangered underground telecom cables etc., and it was also causing hazard to road users, especially to pedestrians. But despite such illegalities taking place right in front of the eye of the statutory authorities concerned, no action was being taken, the petitioner said, explaining the reasons that prompted him to come forward to file this writ petition.