The Hon’ble Madras High Court on Monday (24th May 2021) observed that “there has always to be a distinction drawn between the government of the day and the political personnel who may form such government” while hearing the petition which seeks the ban of display of party symbol in COVID relief distribution packages.
A division bench comprising of Hon’ble Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Hon’ble Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy further stated that “at the time of largesse or relief being disturbed by or on behalf of the Government, it is the Government and only the Government that ought to be projected and not the political party which forms the government. While there may be little room to object to the portrait of the Chief Minister being displayed, since the Chief Minister heads the elected government, the symbol of the ruling party should not be used at any of the distribution centres.”
The petitioner submitted that the ruling party of the state i.e., the DMK political party promoting their party symbol through the COVID relief packages. The government representing by the Advocate-General argued that they had no intention to get the favour of the public since there are no elections due in the state. Also, he submitted that 90% of the packages have already been supplied to the poor persons. For this, the Hon’ble Court directed the State government that, “for the remainder, the personnel involved in distributing the relief packages or the like should refrain from giving any political colour to the functions.”
Additionally, being disturbed by the photographs of the distribution centre that show the mass-crowding and the falling of people over each other, the Hon’ble Court ordered that “it must be avoided at all cost and the COVID protocol must be maintained at all times, including the distancing norms”.