SC ALTERS OWN RULING, ALLOWS CM, GUV PHOTOS ON GOVT ADS
NEW DELHI: Government ads can carry photos of Union ministers, governors, chief ministers and state ministers, the Supreme Court said on Friday as it modified its earlier order restricting such publication to pictures of the President, the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India.
However, photographs of both the Prime Minister and a minister cannot be published together. A minister’s photograph “may be published” in lieu of the PM’s picture. In state governmentsponsored ads, it will either be the CM’s picture or that of the head of the ministry concerned.
A bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi passed the order on a clutch of petitions filed by the Centre and states including poll- bound West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
But governments in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and the Union territory of Puducherry may not be able to benefit electorally from the order as the Election Commission’s model code of conduct for the polls prohibits publication of such ads. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat which will go to the polls next year will be the immediate beneficiaries.
“The rest of the conditions and exceptions will remain,” the bench, also comprising justice PC Ghose, ordered.
Attor ney general Mukul Rohatgi had contended before the court that cabinet ministers had the same rights as the PM who was “first among equals”.
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