Supreme Court is Wrong in Leaving Out CM's and GovernorsThe Supreme Court has said in a recent ruling that government advertisements should not feature pictures of anyone except the Prime Minister of the day, and the President and the Chief Justice of India. Even these pictures should be used only on prior approval of the person concerned. This is ostensibly to prevent the building up of a personality cult. On the face of it, this looks like quite a reasonable order. But a democratically elected government should ordinarily have the right to decide the content of the communication it wishes to have with the masses.
By Sunil Garodia
By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-22 18:44:26
Further, the order clearly discriminates against state governments. Each state has a democratically elected government that also needs to communicate with the electorate. If that government is not of the party that rules at the Centre, why should it be forced to display the pictures of the PM or the President in its ads? There must have been a similar point in the order about using the Chief MinisterÃ¢â¬â¢s and the state GovernorÃ¢â¬â¢s picture in ads given by state governments. Already, the Bihar government has said it will challenge the order and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav has sarcastically commented that the Court should next advice the kind of dress politicians should wear. There is no doubt that the Court has erred on this count.
Where the Court is right is in saying that multiple ads on the birth or death anniversaries of leaders serve no purpose and the government should issue just one advertisement. It is seen that various ministries issue such ads, draining the exchequer. Further, the reason for including the CJI in the people whose pictures are permitted is beyond comprehension. This order is bound to be challenged or the government is going to change the law to make it ineffective. For, if anything, leaders love to see their pictures in newspapers and will not let go of the opportunities so easily.