Kochi: When the government’s order banning flex was issued, the high court’s one-year long intervention in the case has become fruitful, said amicus curiae Adv. Harish Vasudevan. It was Justice Devan Ramachandran who issued the first interim order on July 27, 2018 reminding the government about the social and environmental impact of flex boards.
The order noted that the government does not take any action against flex boards set up without the permission of local bodies. Justice Devan Ramachandran directed the government in September to instruct the local body secretaries to remove and destroy flex board from public places and to ensure they are not set up again at the place. Adv. Harish Vasudevan was appointed as amicus curiae in this case.
Later, the justice heard the case every month and ordered to remove the flex boards. He directed that flex boards should not be dumped in public waste collection points and if found so levy the fine and cost of manging the waste from them. The court also took a stand that the local body secretaries who do not take action in this regard should be penalised.
With this, the number of flex boards reduced. However, the amicus curiae brought to the court’s attention that political leaders and parties were still using flex. Following this, the court made police chief a party in the case and ordered to register criminal case in such incidents. Also the number of officials to whom complaints should be given were publicised through media.
As the government started taking action following court order, use of flex boards was reduced considerably. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy ordered that only recyclable materials should be used for election campaign in the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls. But after election, flex boards also started appearing again.
Following this, Justice Devan Ramachandran intensified his stand that criminal case will be filed against the agencies who set up flex boards and chief secretary will be summoned in case of frequent violation of court order. Thus the government was compelled to ban flex boards.