A day after a 23-year-old woman techie R Subhasri was fatally run over by a water tanker, after she fell on the road due to an illegal hoarding collapsing on her in Chennai, the Madras High Court came down hard against TN government. It also lashed out at political parties for not obeying the previous orders of the court regarding banners.
The high court also ordered that the TN government pay an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victim’s family and directed that this should be collected from the erring officials of the government who did not pay heed to the earlier order.
Pointing out that the high court in the past had passed orders limiting banners, social activist KR Ramaswamy, also known as Traffic Ramaswamy, moved a contempt petition against TN chief secretary on Friday saying that the techie’s death was due to the negligence of concerned officials.
When the matter came before a bench comprising judges N Sheshasayee and M Sathyanarayanan, they directed the Chennai city police commissioner to arrest the accused.
Directing the TN government to pay Rs 5 lakh as interim compensation to the family of Subhashri, the judges said: “The amount should be recovered from the erring officers.” Further hearings on the matter were posted to September 19.
The Court also said that the amount should be collected from Chennai corporation officers first. “After paying compensation, the Greater Chennai City Corporation may recover the compensation amount from the accused,” judges noted.
The court said that despite an order passed in December 2018 to remove illegal hoardings, political parties continued to mount illegal flex-banners.
“Not a single political party leader has released a statement urging their party workers not to erect banners. The Court cannot run the secretariat. Is this county not safe for its citizen? We have lost our faith in the TN government,” the judges said slamming both the political parties and government.
The Court has also advised the Advocate General to ask Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to issue a statement against the flex boards.
“How many more litres of blood need to be coated on the road before the officials become sensitive and cut down the act of erecting illegal banners,” the court asked.
The judges also noted that how the officials turn a blind eye when cadre of the ruling party people put up hoardings without the necessary permission.
After the court criticism, political parties, including the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), urged their party workers not to put up flex boards.
AIADMK leader and Tamil Official Language Minister Mafoi K Pandiarajan assured that the habit of erecting banners would be avoided by the party and government.
“Both in party and government, we will take measures to contain the culture of erecting flex boards,” Pandiarajan told HT.
DMK President MK Stalin has also asked his party workers not to mount illegal hoardings.
“I will not take part in the party functions if banners are erected illegaly or put up in a way that disturbs public. One or two flex boards could be erected after getting proper permission. That should be just enough to advertise the party events,” the leader of opposition said in a statement.
Besides, several outfits like Aam Aadmi Party and Tamilaga Makkal Vaazhvurimai Katchi staged protests across the state demanding the government to ban illegal flexes.
Congress MP and former TNCC chief S Thirunavukkarasar urged the TN CM to conduct an all-party meeting to pass a joint resolution to avoid political hoardings.
The police also have registered a case against former AIADMK councillor C Jayagopalan, who is accused of illegally erecting the hoarding whose collapse lead to Subashri’s death. Police said further investigations are on in the case.
Sep 13, 2019 20:01 IST