The Madras High Court has recently directed that photographs and portraits of political leaders, Advocate/Press stickers pasted on vehicles should be removed as such practices are often indulged in illegal or antisocial activities.
The Court was hearing a PIL seeking directions to concerned authorities to install the Highways properly and maintain the same and remove the unauthorized LED lights, coloring lights put up in all vehicles, including heavy transport vehicles.
The Bench Comprising Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi opined that the purpose of having party flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders or advocate/press stickers is only to keep away the police from stopping the vehicle even in case of violation of road rules. It has become an order of the day in Tamil Nadu that almost 50% of the vehicles either have party flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders or advocate/press stickers. This menace has to be addressed failing which the criminal activities will continue to be committed by the above modus operandi.
The bench further said, “Though the portraits of the leaders are fixed on the dashboard, those portraits are placed only facing outside only with an intention to give a message that the vehicle is possessed or driven by a party man and the police cannot intercept. If anybody wants to admire or display the portraits of leaders, they can fix the portraits facing them inside the vehicle and not outside. Though it is the right of the owners to have portraits, the intention of the owners is only to deter the policemen from discharging their duties.”
The Court stated that this Court can understand the necessity of having flags at the time of elections. In normal circumstances, there is no necessity for the vehicle owners/users to fix/have either the party flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders. Therefore, if at all, the vehicle owners may be permitted to fix the party flags on their vehicles from the date of declaration of election till the date of declaration of the results, if they are involved in the election work of any political party. At other times, no one has got any right except the constitutional authorities to sport flags or name boards.
“No one has got any right to flout the law or to commit excesses which are not sanctioned by law. The act of having flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders or advocate/press stickers is to show that they are privileged sections of the society and to flout the law Section 177 of MV Act 1989 indirectly prohibits use of stickers of any kind on any part of the vehicle. It is also pointed out by the Director General of Police that the vehicles with party flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders or advocate/press stickers are generally flouting the traffic rules and they do not even respect the signals of the policeman.” The Court observed.
The Bench directed the concerned authorities to instruct vehicle owners to remove portraits/photos which have been fixed on the dashboard facing outside within a period of 60 days. If it’s not done, then authorities will remove such flags/portraits and fine the vehicle owner. The police authorities should randomly conduct vehicle checks to ensure that the lights are fixed only as per the rules and if found to be in violation of the rules, the vehicles should be seized or the lights should be removed.