‘Frame norms to end flex board culture’

Says, it will be best to impose certain disincentives or penalty

The Madras High Court has directed the State government to come up with guidelines indicating measures to stop the practice of impeding pedestrian and vehicular movement by erecting flex boards, festoons, buntings, cut-outs and the like on roads and pavements.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu said it would be best if the government suggest some disincentive or penalty against those who put up such temporary construction or gates or welcome arches on public places to invite political leaders and thereby pose grave danger to the pedestrians as well as motorists.

The interim orders were passed on a PIL petition. The petitioner complained a 13-year-old boy was electrocuted while erecting flag poles to welcome the Higher Education Minister on August 20 in Villupuram.

On the other hand, Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram told the court that a contractor had engaged the minor boy for the work. He said the contractor was arrested and subsequently released on bail. The Collector had also paid an initial compensation of ₹1 lakh to the family of the deceased and the criminal investigation was on. The A-G also brought it to the notice of the court that Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had issued a diktat in 2019, instructing his party cadre not to erect flex boards for party events. He had even warned the partymen of not attending events in which flex boards or banners were erected to welcome the leaders. Yet, some stray incidents take place, the A-G said.

After hearing him, The judges directed government officials to file a written response to the PIL petition by November 30. During the course of hearing, the Chief Justice said he had witnessed the ubiquitous flex board culture in the State during his visits to court complexes in the southern districts during weekends and holidays.

“Once I was almost mobbed because the organisers thought their guest had arrived,” he said.

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