Madras High Court Rejects Request for Dr. BR Ambedkar Portrait, Only Gandhi and Thiruvalluvar Portraits Permitted

MADRAS HC- Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 23 July 2023 at 12:30 IST

The Madras High Court has reaffirmed its stance on displaying portraits or statues of leaders within court premises in Tamil Nadu. The court restated that only portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Saint Thiruvalluvar will be allowed, and no other leaders’ portraits, including that of Dr. BR Ambedkar, will be installed.

This resolution came in response to several advocates’ associations’ requests to have Dr. BR Ambedkar’s portrait displayed inside the courts in the State.

The Registrar General issued a circular on July 7, emphasizing that this decision is in line with the court’s series of previous resolutions dating back to October 2008. It was during this time that a lawyers’ group first requested to display Dr. Ambedkar’s portrait inside the court, which was declined by the High Court.

The circular further highlighted that in April 2013, the Full Court reviewed a similar request and unanimously agreed that, apart from the portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Saint Thiruvalluvar, no other portraits or pictures would be allowed anywhere within the Court premises.

This is not the first instance where the court has upheld such a stance. In October 2008, the court rejected an application from the Tamil Nadu Dr. BR Ambedkar Advocates Association, which sought permission to display Dr. Ambedkar’s portrait in court halls across the State.

Subsequently, in March 2010, the court decided to prohibit the installation of any political leaders’ statues due to incidents of damage to such statues leading to law and order issues in various parts of the State. In April 2011, the court went a step further and disallowed the display of any portraits in court halls.

In April 2013, the court ordered the Principal District Judge of Kancheepuram to remove the photo of Dr. Ambedkar placed by the Alandur Court Lawyers’ Association at the entrance of a newly constructed court building. A similar request from the Cuddalore Bar Association was also rejected during that time.

The latest circular reiterates the court’s previous decisions, emphasizing that all concerned district and principal district judges must strictly adhere to these orders and resolutions in letter and spirit.

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