CHENNAI — The Madras High Court on Thursday allowed the Tamil Nadu and Central governments to erect banners to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping for their informal meet next week.
The court said it has no objection to installation of banners to welcome the two dignitaries.
The court had earlier banned erection of hoardings on roadsides and recently pulled up the government for not effectively implementing its order following the death of a woman techie.
A division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee, however, made it clear that the state has to follow all existing rules in connection with installation of such banners.
The bench also said no political parties will be allowed to install such banners.
The state government had on Tuesday sought the court’s permission to erect banners welcoming Modi and Xi Jinping, who are slated to meet at Mamallapuram, about 50 km from here, for their second informal meet from October 11-13.
The petition filed by commissioner of municipal administration said authorities were not giving permission for putting up such structures throughout the state.
The petitioner had said Modi and Xi Jinping would be holding bilateral talks in the tourist town.
The petitioner said it was customary for the Ministry of External Affairs to welcome a visiting dignitary by way of banners.
Stating that the state and the central governments proposed to put up the banners at designated places to welcome the top dignitaries, the petitioner asked the court to pass suitable orders on the proposal.
Reacting to the government’s move, Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan had on Wednesday faulted it for seeking the court’s approval to erect banners to welcome Modi and Xi Jinping.
The actor-politician appealed to Modi to “act as a pioneer” and put an end to the “banner culture.”
Earlier, the court, while hearing a plea against erection of illegal hoardings, had reprimanded the state government following the death of 23-year-old Subhasri Ravi.
Taking a tough stand against illegal hoardings, the court wondered, “how many more litres of blood the state government needs to paint the roads with.”
Jaygopal, a local level functionary of the ruling AIADMK, was nabbed by police in connection with the case on 27 September and booked on charges of attempt to commit culpable homicide. He had been evading arrest for two weeks.
The techie was killed after she fell on the road when an illegal hoarding, put up by an AIADMK functionary, collapsed on her and she was run over by a lorry.
The hoarding was put up by Jayagopal for his son’s wedding at a hall near Pallikaranai, without obtaining permission from Corporation authorities.
Following outrage over her death, political parties asked their respective cadre to stop erecting hoardings and banners.
In 2017, a 32-year old engineer Raghunath died after he crashed into an illegal hoarding in Coimbatore, put up for the MGR Centenary celebrations.