SC AL­TERS OWN RUL­ING, AL­LOWS CM, GUV PHO­TOS ON GOVT ADS

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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”.

CON­TIN­UED ON P12

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