No politicians’ photos in government ads, rules SC

Except the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and departed leaders, photographs of other political leaders should not be used in government advertisements, the apex court ruled


In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday prohibited use of photographs of political leaders, including ministers, in advertisements issued by the government and its agencies, saying that it leads to promotion of personality cult.
The apex court bench, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in its judgment, however, permitted the use of photographs of the president, prime minister, Chief Justice of India and departed leaders, including Father of the Nation, in the advertisements issued by the government and its agencies.
The court said the use of photographs of an individual, leader or minister not only has a tendency to associate an individual with a project, but leads to a personality cult.
The court said this was a direct injustice to democracy.
All political parties in power, either at the centre or in the states, have been misusing public money for promoting their leaders' image, particularly during or before the elections. "It is indeed worrisome that political leaders and parties are building and marketing their 'brands' at the expense of the ordinary people. Therefore the SC judgment will be an important step in the direction of building accountability in the expenditure of the tax payers' money," says Dr Vipul Mudgal, director of Common Cause.

During 2003, a writ petition was filed amidst the media blitzkrieg of political advertising better remembered as "India Shining" campaign with the guidance from Common Cause founder HD Shourie.
Last year in October, a Supreme Court appointed High-Level Committee, in its report submitted before the apex court had said guidelines were required to stop taxpayers' money being used by government to give publicity to political personalities, parties or ministers garner political mileage.
Holding that there had been “misuse and abuse” of public money on such advertisements, the three-member committee headed by eminent academician Professor NR Madhava Menon has framed guidelines to regulate expenditure and contents of such advertisements paid out of tax payers’ money. 
The committee, also comprising TK Viswanathan, former Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, had said that only photographs of the President and Prime Minister could be part of the government advertisements. 
"Since it is the responsibility of government to safeguard the trust and confidence in the integrity and impartiality of public services and hence it should be the policy of government to use public funds in such a manner as to obtain maximum value of taxpayers' money," the report said.
The Committee had said, “There should only be a single advertisement, preferably by Information and Broadcasting Ministry, in respect of commemorative advertisements, which are given on birth and death anniversary of an important personality. An amount or budget for the public advertisements should be declared by each ministry and public sector undertaking and it should be audited by CAG.”



B. Yerram Raju

1 year ago

This is a good move. In fact, if in the same manner, even the visits of VIPs, Political leaders of all categories including the President of India, Film Heroes etc to temples of prominence Like Tirupati, Varanasi or Ayodhya and other religious structures like Dargas etc., this would save unnecessary news occupying the columns. How can such news be of any interest except to the families of visitors and how can such news add value to the knowledge base of any reader? I wish a campaign against such news in columns is spread by a sensible NGO.


1 year ago

Excluding politicians' mug shots from the Government's Rogues Gallery advertisements: Now that the Nehru-Gandhis and their cronies are not in Power, the Supreme Court has permission to so rule, I presume?

Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla get ED summons for forex violation
Kolkata Knight Riders co-owners, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, have been served Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons for allegedly violating FEMA norms, official sources said here on Wednesday.
The ED move follows a notice sent in March this year and SRK and others would be required to appear before the agency by the May-end.
An IPL franchisee, the Knight Riders Sports Pvt Ltd is suspected to have violated FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) norms by undervaluing its shares in a transfer deal with Jay Mehta’s overseas company, Sea Island Investments Ltd.
However, none of the co-owners have officially reacted to the development.
A co-owner of KKR - among the highest valued IPL franchisee brands - Mehta is the leading light of Mehta Group, a multi-business entity in control of assets worth over USD 400 million in India, Britain, Africa and North America.


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