Politicians' photos in ads: Centre seeks review

Politicians' photos in ads: Centre seeks review

The Centre on Tuesday sought before the Supreme Court review of its May 13 judgment restricting use of politicians' pictures in government advertisements, saying it was wrong to prohibit publishing chief ministers' and governors' photographs.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted before a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and P C Ghose that people in a participative democracy have the right to know about government policies.

He said the Union government has filed the review petition.


Senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, appearing for Karnataka, said in order to have proper balance in a federal structure, publication of picture should not be limited.

The chief minister and governor's pictures should be allowed as have been photographs of the prime minister, president and chief justice of India, he said.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO CPIL, submitted that the salutary effect of the SC judgment was being allowed to be defeated. He urged the apex court to restrict the publication of the prime minister's pictures as well, saying multiple full-page advertisements have been issued recently with half the space occupied by only his photographs.

He said a petition seeking contempt action has been filed for the government's failure to appoint a three-member ombudsman even six months after the verdict.
The bench put all the petitions, including the one filed by the Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal governments, for detailed consideration on January 12.

The verdict was assailed by different state government for violating the spirit of federalism, where the status of chief ministers in states was akin to that of the prime minister.

In their review plea, the states contended that the SC verdict disregarded equal share of power enjoyed by the Centre and states, besides ignoring the federal structure based on the grounds of parity between the two.

They claimed the party in power has the right to publish the chief minister's photograph in government advertisements showing its achievements.

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