No SC verdict yet on govt ads praising politicians

No SC verdict yet on govt ads praising politicians

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to pass any direction at the moment on government advertisements glorifying political personalities and printing photographs of party leaders.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Arun Mishra said no order could be passed till the government as well as others submitted their response to a report of the SC-appointed panel recommending maintenance of neutrality in advertisements released in media, including newspaper, television, radio and internet.

“Any order at this stage would be accepting the report of the committee without giving parties any opportunity of hearing,” the bench said in response to a plea put forth by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of NGO Common Cause..

Bhushan contended that governments were misusing crores of public funds against the guidelines laid down by the SC-appointed committee, which has to be stopped.

The panel consisting of N R Madhavan Menon, founder director of Bangalore’s National Law School of India University, T K Vishwanathan, former Lok Sabha secretary general and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar submitted its report last October.

The panel said that advertisement materials must not mention the party in government by name; directly attack the views or actions of others in opposition; include party political symbol or logo  or flag; aim to influence public support for a political party, candidate for election; or refer or link to the websites of political parties or politicians.

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