Madras Sept 9(ILNS): The Madras High Court on Tuesday told the State to take extreme care and caution to ensure that public funds are not expended for publicity purposes of political leaders, including in hoardings and other materials.
The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Oveyam Ranjan.
The Writ Petition is filed for a direction on the respondent authorities to ensure that the unused stocks of textbooks, school bags, and stationery used by children and which carry the names and photographs of previous Chief Ministers should not be wasted since considerable public funds have been expended for the purpose.
The Court held that it is abhorring that school books or school bags meant for school-going children, who do not have a right to vote, would carry photographs of public functionaries, even if the functionary is the Chief Minister of the State. Public funds cannot be misused for printing photographs for the personal interests of any politician. The State should ensure that such practice is not continued in the future.
The Court noted that,
Advocate-General submitted that a statement has been made on the floor of the Assembly recently to the effect that so as not to waste the money already expended, the present dispensation will ensure that school bags, textbooks, and stationery bearing the photographs or other signs of previous Chief Ministers will continue to be used till exhausted.
It is also submitted on behalf of the State that the Chief Minister does not desire his photographs to be published in such material in the future.
“Accordingly, no further order need be made except directing the State that extreme care and caution should be taken to ensure that public funds are not expended for publicity purposes of political leaders, including in hoardings and other material.
However, photographs of the Chief Minister may be carried, but that should be restricted to advertisements in newspapers or some hoardings and certainly not used on textbooks or exercise books or any educational material at all”, the Court said while disposing of the Petition./ILNS/AP/SNG