Madras HC Okays Banners for Modi-Xi Meet Days After Fatal Accident
Madras High Court has allowed the installation of flex boards to welcome Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.
Less than a month after 23-year-old Chennai techie Subhasri lost her life because of an illegal hoarding, the Madras High Court, on Thursday, 3 October, allowed banners to be installed from Chennai Airport to Mahabalipuram to welcome Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.
Both the Centre as well as Tamil Nadu’s government plan to erect hoardings across the city in honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. The ruling AIADMK government had notified the Madras High Court of its proposal to erect flex boards for the arrival of the leaders.
A former AIADMK councillor, Jayagopal, had installed a line of illegal banners along the median on the Pallavaram stretch for his son’s wedding. On 12 September, the board fell on Subhasri, throwing her off the scooter, following which she was run over by a water tanker.
Subhasri’s death had sparked mass protests on the streets of Chennai as well as outrage on social media against indiscriminate erection of banners by parties, despite their illegality.
In response to the court order, Subhasri’s mother appealed to Prime Minister Modi to set an example by saying no to this banner culture.
She said that after the tragic loss of their daughter, many political parties and people in the state came forward and promised to not erect banners unnecessarily and unlawfully. “This move really made us believe Subashri’s soul will rest in peace,” she said.
“It is unfortunate that the Tamil Nadu government has itself appealed to put up banners and the Madras High Court has given permission,” she added.
“Flex boards and banners are not the only way to welcome a political leader. There are many other ways. I don’t think PM would be happy by only seeing the banners.”Geetha, Subhasri’s mother
The court had stated that technically, the government doesn’t need to seek permission to do so. In 2017, the Madras High Court had issued a ban on hoardings being put up by political parties.
A division Bench of judges, however, questioned, “Foreign dignitaries keep visiting New Delhi often, do they erect banners there?”
The court insisted that the public should not be inconvenienced. The ruling party has affirmed the same and said the banners will not pose danger or threat to life.
The Opposition party DMK has strongly opposed the government’s move.
According to reports, a total of 41 banners will be erected for the meet. The Ministry of External Affairs plans to install welcome banners in 14 locations across Chennai. This includes nine locations along the East Coast Road on the way to Mahabalipuram and in two locations in Mahabalipuram.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government wanted to erect hoardings in five locations across the city, four locations in Mahabalipuram and seven locations along Old Mahabalipuram Road and East Coast Road.
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