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Supreme Court bars party colours at government offices

Andhra Pradesh High Court order upheld before civic polls in state
The Supreme Court

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 03.06.20, 10:13 PM

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that party colours and flags cannot be allowed to adorn government buildings as it upheld an Andhra Pradesh High Court order that had directed the ruling YSR Congress to immediately repaint such structures and remove political propaganda materials.

A three-judge bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat refused to interfere with an April 20 order passed by the high court that had directed the state government to repaint government buildings, particularly panchayat offices, which had been given a coating of blue, white and green — the colour scheme the YSR Congress uses on its propaganda materials.

Besides painting several government offices, party flags had been put up at some of the buildings, a petition in the high court had alleged.

The petition had been filed by local Opposition party workers who had alleged that the ruling YSR Congress under chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had painted government offices in party colours and put up flags on them in view of municipal polls in Andhra Pradesh.

The colouring had begun in February. The civic elections have, however, now been deferred because of the pandemic and the resultant lockdown.

The Andhra Pradesh government, through its counsel L. Nageswara Reddy, on Wednesday tried to argue that the colours were in no way related to the YSR Congress and that the petition filed in the high court was politically motivated.

However, the Supreme Court found no reason to interfere with the high court order and dismissed the government’s petition.

The high court had wondered why the government had given the go-ahead to the painting despite an earlier restraint order on March 10 and sought to know why the government should not be charged with contempt of court.

The court had sought an explanation from the state chief secretary and other officials.

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