The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 23 , 2014
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SC panel to lay down rules to check govt advertisements touting politicians

New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday set up a committee for framing guidelines to prevent misuse of public funds by the government and its authorities in giving advertisements in newspapers and television to get political mileage.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam said that substantive guidelines are needed to regulate such advertisements at the cost of public exchequer.

The four members of the committee set up by it are N.R. Madhava Menon, a former Director of the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal, T.K. Viswanathan, a former Lok Sabha Secretary, Ranjit Kumar, a senior advocate, and the Secretary of the Union information & broadcasting ministry.

The apex court asked the committee to submit its report within three weeks.

The court passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by Common Cause and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), two non-government organisations, pleading it to frame guildelines.

They have petitioned the court to issue guidelines for curbing ruling parties from taking political mileage by projecting their leaders in official advertisements.

The counsel for Common Cause had earlier said that the glorification of politicians linked to the ruling establishment, in order to attain political mileage at the cost of public exchequer, was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The counsel for CPIL had told the court that there was nothing wrong in issuing advertisements and informing the public about the programmes of the government.

However, he said, such advertisement campaigns become arbitrary and mala fide when aimed at gaining political mileage.

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