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High Time We Realise We're Governed By 'Rule Of Law': Kerala High Court Proposes Action Against Illegal Flag Masts Under Land Conservancy Act

Hannah M Varghese
25 Nov 2021 10:15 AM GMT
High Time We Realise Were Governed By Rule Of Law: Kerala High Court Proposes Action Against Illegal Flag Masts Under Land Conservancy Act

The Kerala High Court on Thursday ruled that every unauthorized flag mast will have to prima facie be made subject to provisions of the Kerala Land Conservancy Act, 1957, and the penalties and prosecution as ordered therein will have to be pursued against the perpetrators.

Justice Devan Ramachandran condemning the inaction since the last direction of the Court, orally remarked:

"I don't see a single flag mast gone since the last hearing. In fact, I come across a few of them every day on my way. I gave one opportunity to everyone. Now we'll start removing them under the Act imposing the requisite penalties."

The Court added:

"There are two flag posts in front of the Kaloor Stadium. And if anyone even dares to touch these posts, horrific violence would follow. It is high time that we understand that we are governed by rule of law. Nobody can put up a board anywhere they want."

During the last hearing of the matter, the Court had issued strict instructions to the State to ensure that no new unauthorised flag posts are installed in the State and to remove the already existing ones within a period of 10 days.

Government Pleader S. Kannan informed the Court today that wide publicity was given to this direction of the Court so as to enable the persons to remove illegally erected posts and flag masts from public spaces.

It was submitted that the competent Authorities have now ensured that no new ones have come up.

He added that the Additional Advocate General would appear for the next hearing to inform the Court of the decisions taken by the State government regarding the manner in which illegal flag posts can be removed.

The Single Judge noted that since the time granted by the Court had expired, it was to be assumed that the perpetrators were ready to face the consequences to the full effect in law.

"If the afore submissions of the learned Senior Government Pleader are accurate, then certainly every unauthorized post and flag mast, presently installed in the State, will have to be, prima facie, made subject to the provisions of the Kerala Land Conservancy Act, 1957, ('the Act', for short) and the penalties and prosecutions as ordered therein will have to be invoked and pursued against the perpetrators."

Accordingly, the Court ordered that its earlier interim order will continue to be in force, and added that if new flag posts were put up in contravention of the same and no action is taken against this, the competent authorities will have to face consequences as mandated under Section 7 (Punishment for unauthorizedly occupying land which is property of Government) of the Land Conservancy Act.

The matter will be taken up next Thursday for further consideration.

The Court issued the order on a petition filed by a property owner who approached the Court through Advocate R.T Pradeep seeking police protection to remove flag posts that were allegedly put upon his property by political parties.

Case Title: Mannam Sugar Mills Cooperative Ltd v. Deputy Superintendant of Police

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