First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, also said exceptions may only be made in the case of visits of high-level dignitaries such as the president and the prime minister, who occasionally visit and whose visits were intimated and publicised in advance.
"As far as possible, traffic should not be stopped for more than 5 to 10 minutes or so for the purpose of the movement of vehicles of high dignitaries, be it the governor, the chief minister, the chief justice (for whom the traffic need not at all be kept waiting) or anyone else," it said.
The bench gave the directions in its order while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by S Doraisamy, an advocate of the high court, seeking appropriate action against top city traffic police officials for allegedly restraining him wrongfully on a main road near the high court on March 22 last year following a traffic jam.
"No action is warranted. The petition is disposed of by directing the respondent police authorities to ensure proper traffic regulation and free flow of traffic to the extent possible," the bench said.
It, however, made it clear that the directions will not prevent the police authorities from diverting traffic from certain roads in case of a visit to the city of high dignitaries such as the president and the prime minister or in other exigencies.
The petitioner submitted that he missed an appointment with his doctor on that day due to the traffic jam.
He further alleged that on an enquiry with the police, he came to know that the chief minister was supposed to go to RK Nagar in North Chennai for a political meeting, but the meeting had got delayed for some reason.
The court said it appeared that in this case there was a traffic jam, which certain traffic policemen could not control.
No case was made out in the PIL for penal action against the commissioner of police or the deputy commissioners of police, impleaded as respondents.
It was nobody's case that these officers were present at the spot or were even aware of the traffic dislocation.
In any case, no case of misconduct has been made out against them, the bench ruled.