SC tells government to refrain from wasteful newspaper ads

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To put a restrain on countless number of advertisements and glorification of politicians who are in power, the Supreme Court’s newly appointed committee has recommended strict guidelines to hem the governments from spending exorbitantly on newspaper ads.

Following the request from a group of nonprofits to put a strict check on governments misusing taxpayers’ money, the apex court took the initiative of creating the committee. Further, the case alleged that the governments at the Centre and in the states mainly adhere to such advertisements for promoting private interests.

The detailed report of the three member committee created in April recommend that governments must decide in advance on a list of personalities whose birth or death anniversaries will be marked with ads. They must then strictly specify the ministry which will be responsible to publish the ad so as to avoid different departments and state run companies from paying tribute to the same leader with a number of advertisements.

The committee further added that photo of political leaders should be avoided in ads. However, if it is not possible to do so, then the ads should feature only one of these leaders – the Prime Minister, the President, Governor or the Chief Minister.

The committee said that its recommendations mainly stresses on the need to avoid “arbitrary use of public funds for advertising…to project particular personalities, parties or governments without any attendant public interest”.

The ads must also steer clear of “the glorification of political personalities”, the committee remarked. It urged that its recommendations, once approved by the Supreme Court should be implemented till the government comes up with a law to prevent the misuse of public funds for advertising.

It is also worth noting that the Supreme Court will have final say on the matter after it completes the process of reviewing the committee’s report.