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'Do not affix posters on walls of public & pvt property without proper permission'

Do not affix posters on walls of public & pvt property without proper permission
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Chennai: Madras High Court has given a strict mandate not to affix posters of election candidates on the walls of public and private property without proper permission with regards to the upcoming Tamil Nadu urban local body polls.

The first Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy has also warned the candidates who violate the provisions of Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959 of legal action including prosecution, according to a report in LiveLaw.

The Bench has also directed Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) and Chennai Municipal Corporation to oversee that the court order is strictly complied with. It has also been directed that the candidates who flout the provisions of the Act and the Tamil Nadu SEC's circular dated 30th November, 2021, must be made to incur the costs of repainting the walls of public/private property where such posters have been unlawfully affixed.

A writ petition was filed by one of the AIADMK candidates in the local body polls, P Arumugam, alleging that the opponent contestant affixed the poster over the one already affixed by the petitioner candidate.

The petitioner, therefore, sought the issuance of directions to the State Election Commissioner and Assistant Returning Officer for additional reinforcement of police force and total coverage throughout the election process. He also submitted photographs to prove the allegations against the opposition candidate.

The circular previously issued by Tamil Nadu State Election Commission deprecated the practice of affixing posters on the walls of public/private property during the election campaign. The circular also indicated that any such disfigurement of property during the election campaign will be 'curbed with a heavy hand'.

The circular also directed the returning officers of local bodies to make the candidates/parties remove any such posters and repaint the walls at their own expense.

When the court asked the petitioner if he had the proper permission to affix the posters on the said property, the petitioner couldn't show any proof to that effect. The court also pointed out that the candidates had pasted the posters even on the wall of the office of Ward No. 117 of Chennai Corporation.

Therefore, the court noted in the order that strict action will be taken against those who disfigure public/private places by affixing posters as a part of the election campaign without obtaining the requisite permission. With agency inputs

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