Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday disapproved of the practice of flagpoles or masts being put up on public land across the state by political parties and asked the state government and the police how the same, which was a violation of Land Conservancy laws, was being permitted.
Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that flagpoles “of all hue and colour” were being put up without permission at junctions, on public roads, auto stands, etc, by political parties and if anyone touches or removes it, a major fight breaks out over the same.
Not only a fight, but often the situation escalates to a point where communal harmony is also disrupted, the court said.
“On what basis are political parties being allowed to put up flagpoles and masts in public places? Wherever we turn, we see several such flags. You can see them at traffic junctions, road sides, auto stands, etc all of which are public places.”
“Is the Land Conservancy Act not applicable? If it were an ordinary citizen, all kinds of action would be taken against him. But if he has a party, even of three to four people, then he can get away with it. What is all this happening? Where are we going like this? Everyone is turning a blind eye to all this. No one dares to question it,” the court observed.
The observations from the court came during the hearing of a plea by a cooperative society alleging that a particular political party was illegally putting up flags and banners on its land.
The society also alleged that when the notice issued by the court in the matter was communicated to the party”s local leadership, some of its members arrived there with an earth mover machine and damaged some portion of their land.
The society urged the court to provide police protection for restoring the damaged site back to its original condition.
However, the court declined to pass any such interim order saying it first wants to address the issue of flagpoles and masts being installed without permission and in violation of the Land Conservancy Act.
Justice Ramachandran said it was necessary to array the Local Self Government Department as a party in the matter and issued notice to it seeking its stand on the averments made by the society and the concerns raised by the court.
With the direction, the court listed the matter for hearing on November 1.
The court also made it clear that answers in connection with the illegal flagpole issue should not be confined to the instant matter and should also take into account the situation in other parts of the state.