An all party meeting headed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday decided that while political parties as well as religious and cultural organisations should not be denied the opportunity to campaign, flags and advertisements in relation to their events should not obstruct traffic or pedestrians.
The all party meeting, which was also attended by Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan, state Law Minister P Rajeev and various other parties’ leaders, was held in the wake of several orders of the Kerala High Court against putting up of flag poles on pavements and roadsides without permission by political and other organisations.
In the meeting, all the parties were of the view that political parties as well as religious and cultural organizations should not be denied the opportunity to campaign or conduct their events, while at the same time flags and advertisements should not be put up in public places in a manner that would obstruct vehicular and pedestrian traffic, a release from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.
It was decided that flag poles can be put up in private walls or compounds with the permission of the owners and without affecting traffic, the release said.
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In public areas, like footpaths, flag poles may be erected for conventions and festivals with the permission of the authorities concerned and without obstructing pedestrians right of way, the parties decided in the meeting.
They also decided that it should be specified in advance as to how many days the flag poles would be present and when they would be removed after the event concludes, the release said.
The parties directed the Advocate General to inform the High Court of the decisions taken in the meeting as the opinion of the public, it said.
The high court’s orders against installation of illegal flag poles came on a plea by a cooperative society which has alleged that a particular political party was illegally putting up flags and banners on its land.
On November 1 last year, the court passed an interim order directing that no illegal flag poles or masts be put up in the state while the issue was being examined by it.
It had, on November 15 last year, given 10 days’ time for people to remove the illegal flag poles and on November 25, 2021, it directed the government to invoke provisions of Land Conservancy Act against all flag masts numbering 42,337 in the State.
Subsequently, in December last year, the court had directed all District Collectors in the state to take action under the Land Conservancy Act against the illegal flag masts.