August 31, 2016
With local body elections around the corner, walls of the city could be defaced with a glut of posters though laws have decried unauthorised advertisements on walls.
But the scant regard to disfigurement of public places have not spared even buildings belonging to the government like the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) on Trichy Road.
The inner wall at the entrance to CMCH bears a poster celebrating an award winning social worker.
CMCH dean Dr Edwin Joe said, “Posters conveying a message of public interest is permitted by us.”
“Any other posters that do not serve public interest are not permitted, but if it finds its way into our campus without our knowledge then we request the PWD (Public Works Department), which maintains our building, to remove it. They will give us a certificate saying the job is done.”
Posters in public interest also are time-bound, and will be removed from the wall when the time is up, Dr Joe said.
While the essence of public interest can be relative, walls are continuing to be ravaged including those belonging to private property.
It is to be noted that the Madras High Court in June of this year warned the authorities that any fresh violation of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959 will face contempt of court charges.
This was in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition moved by advocate ‘Elephant’ Rajendran seeking stringent action to prevent religious symbols, political graffiti and advertisements being painted on mountains, hills, avenue trees, median of roads, walls and other public property.
Moth eaten posters with some torn and hanging and garish graffiti can be nothing but an eyesore, and many a time a distraction for drivers and in some cases the content can lead to chaos.
While many may argue that there is no other better way to grab public attention, well-intentioned laws of the country have pronounced them illegal.
However, execution of such laws is quite another thing and worse if occupants of such property or law enforcers turn a blind eye to it.