Remove all statues from public places, install them at “Leaders Park”, says Madras HC

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu government to remove all statues of political leaders and eminent personalities installed on roads and other public places in three months and create a Leaders’ Park to relocate them.

Till then no permission shall be granted to install statues in public places, Justice S M Subramanian said.

The judge was disposing of a writ petition from advocate M Veeraraghavan of Arakkonam, seeking to quash a notice dated August 21, 2014 of the local authority directing him to remove a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar, which he had erected on a road in a village.

Disposing of the petition, the judge observed that to evict the encroachments in public places and remove illegal structures, the government is empowered to initiate eviction proceedings by following the procedures as contemplated under the Tamil Nadu Highways Act, 2001, Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, 1905 and Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act, 2007 and by invoking all relevant Act and Rules as the case may be.

The court directed the State Home Secretary to identify the statues and structures in all public places, highways, public roads, government lands and others, within three months and thereafter evict/remove all encroachments and unauthorised structures, statues by following the procedures as contemplated under the relevant acts and rules in force.

The Home secretary shall not grant any permission hereafter for installing any structure or statues in those places affecting or infringing the rights of the common people. He shall issue comprehensive guidelines for grant of permission for erection of statues or structures.

The officials shall identify lands for creation of required numbers of “Leaders Park” across the state for installing new statues and for re-location or replacement of existing ones, for which permission had already been granted, the judge said.

He shall maintain the statues/structures after re-locating the same in the �Leaders Park� and the maintenance cost shall be recovered from those who had got permission for installing them. In case of non-payment of maintenance cost, the competent authorities shall recover the same by invoking the Revenue Recovery Act. All these directions are to be complied within six months, the judge added.

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