New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that public places, including hilly areas, are not defaced by slogans and advertisements by political parties.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta expressed dissatisfaction over the reply filed by the state government in the matter and said it has not acted in a "responsible manner".
"As the state has failed to act...we direct the state government to ensure that there is no disfigurement of public places," the bench said.
It directed authorities to ensure that political parties do not disfigure such public places by pasting photographs of leaders and by writing slogans.
Senior advocate V Giri, appearing for the state government, submitted that PIL petitioner, a charitable trust 'In Defence of Environment and Animals', can approach a committee formed by the Madras High Court and put forth its grievances to it.
Earlier also, the apex court had told the Tamil Nadu government that defacement of public places cannot be allowed by political parties with advertisements and slogans.
It had asked the state government to inform about the steps taken regarding prevention of defacement of natural resources like hills, mountains, rocks and public places.
The apex court had on January 11 issued notice to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government on the plea seeking to restrain political parties from erecting digital banners on roadside across the state.
The court had asked as to why the plea should not be kept open, enabling the Madras High Court to monitor the developments in the case.
The plea sought preventing encroachments via religious symbols and political graffiti, advertisements by private parties on natural resources like mountains, hills, hillocks, avenue trees and on national and state highways.
The Madras High Court had on December 19 last year issued an interim order restraining political parties from putting up digital banners on roadside unless the state government and local bodies came out with a clear undertaking that the rules and various orders passed by the court would be strictly implemented and no violation would take place.
The court while passing the orders had said such banners distracted the road users, especially two-wheeler riders, and obstructed pedestrians.
The high court had expressed displeasure over the unjustified reasons given by authorities in the past five years for failing to implement court orders regarding unauthorised banners.