The Kerala High Court today said that there cannot be two sets of laws, one for the powerful and one for the ordinary citizens, after noting that the state government was unable to prevent flag masts being put up without permission by political parties despite the Court's orders against the same.

It must be borne in mind that every flag pole which is installed without permission is an illegality and cannot be disregarded just because it is done by powerful people or political parties, the Court said.

"That cannot be countenanced. You would not allow an ordinary citizen to get away with it. There cannot be two laws, one for the powerful and one for the ordinary," Justice Devan Ramachandran said.

The Court said that it was "worrying" that the state government was not even able to assure that no new illegal flag poles would be set up in future.

It said that instead of supporting an initiative started by the high court, the state government was doing nothing.

The Court further said that the state had earlier sought three months time to come out with a policy to regulate setting up of flag poles, and now it was seeking even more time for that.

"When the executive asks for time from the judiciary, there should be a sincerity attached to it and not just because you want to ask for time," the Court added.

The state, represented by Additional Advocate General Ashok M Cherian said that though that government machinery was resolved to regulate flag poles and ensure no new ones come up without permission, it needs time to ensure that all stakeholders are on board with that plan.

While granting time till March 28, the court reiterated that when the government seeks more time, it should be with sincerity to bring in a regulation.

The Court was hearing a plea by a cooperative society which has alleged that a particular political party was illegally putting up flags and banners on its land.

On November 1 last year, the court passed an interim order directing that no illegal flag poles or masts be put up in the state while the issue was being examined by it.

It had, on November 15 last year, given 10 days' time for people to remove the illegal flag poles and on November 25, 2021, it directed the government to invoke provisions of Land Conservancy Act against all flag masts numbering 42,337 in the State.

Subsequently, in December last year, the court had directed all District Collectors in the state to take action under the Land Conservancy Act against the illegal flag masts.

With PTI inputs