Auto union appeals against ban on political advertising on PSV

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A Delhi-based auto union has moved the Delhi High Court seeking removal of the government’s stringent guidelines on the ban on political advertising on public service vehicles (PSVs). The plea filed by the union argues that the guidelines imposed by the city government “interfere” with the smaller political parties’ rights to express their voice through advertisements on auto rickshaws or other PSVs.

The city government’s crackdown on such advertisements was already challenged in the high court. The guidelines were introduced to prevent political, ethnic, religious or sectarian messages to be put on PSVs. Following the move, a few auto drivers filed a plea against the government’s decision to include the word “political” in the guidelines.

The matter is to be heard on August 22, 2014. The new plea filed by the auto union asks for permission to advert social messages with political content on their vehicles urging that the guidelines were issued on behest of major political parties.

“The guidelines suffer from mala fide as it has been finalised and notified at the instance of major ruling parties in an attempt to interfere with the constitutional rights of the smaller political parties,” the auto union’s plea has said.

“It is only the small political parties who face difficulty to mete out such huge expanses and rather choose cheaper method to convey their political ideas at large,” it added.

PSVs in Delhi includes all public transports including: auto rickshaws, taxis, school buses, and buses operated by contractors of Delhi Transport Corporation.