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Restriction of Unauthorized Stickering in Private Vehicle in Chennai

The Greater Chennai Traffic Police had warned road users against exposing department identities in the form of stickers or symbols or marks on private vehicle through a press note dated April 27, 2024. The note cited that these practices have a wide-ranging negative impact and may lead to misuse of the department’s reputation as well as deviate officers and police personnel during field duty.  

The note was addressed to departments and institution such as the press, secretariat, TNEB, GCC, defence, police, political parties, advocates and doctors and provided a deadline until May 1, 2024, to correct and rectify.

The note further specified that failure to adhere would result in legal proceedings, including penalties under Section 198 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 for unauthorized interference with motor vehicles, along with Section 177 for defective number plates under Rule 50 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules.

Earlier, in Ramesh v. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ambedkar Law University & Others, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had taken on record an affidavit filed by the DGP, Chennai, where it was clarified that the fixing of flags, whatever the nature of the flags including party flags, organization flags etc., was not authorized by law and rules and therefore, they were all illegal.

The difficulties faced by the police were also expressed in the affidavit, which stated that the police may hesitate to stop and check the vehicles that are fitted with party flags and designation boards and the drivers as well as those who are traveling in those vehicles may enter into heated arguments with the police resulting in a law-and-order problem. A similar stand was taken with respect to Press, Advocate and Army stickers. While allowing flags of political parties to be affixed at the time of elections, the court stated that at other times, no one has any right except the constitutional authorities to sport flags or name boards or stickers.