New Delhi, Aug 17 : The Supreme Court on Monday sought the central government’s response on the steps taken by it to constitute a three-member committee to oversee the issuance of advertisements by the government and its agencies. An apex court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana issued notice on a plea by NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation’ seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Delhi and Tamil Nadu governments for issuing advertisements carrying the photographs of chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal and J. Jayalalithaa in violation of the court’s order of May 13 last.(Read:Supreme Court issues notice to RJD chief Lalu Prasad in fodder scam case)
The court said that in case the government has not constituted the three-member committee as directed by it on May 13, it should explain the reason for not doing so. The order came as the NGO’s counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that the action of the two governments was in gross violation of the court order as advertisements were issued to gain political mileage and self-glorification and to put rival political parties in bad light.
As senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, sought to oppose the contempt petition, the court observed: “Why are you provoking us? We have not issued notice to you. There is enough to say.” Through its May 13 verdict, the apex court had prohibited the use of photographs of political leaders, including ministers, in advertisements issued by the government and its agencies, holding that it promoted personality cult.
“We are of the view that for ironing out the creases that are bound to show from time to time in the implementation of the present directions and to oversee such implementation, the government should constitute a three- member body consisting of persons with unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality and who have excelled in their respective fields,” it said. The court, however, permitted the use of photographs of the president, prime minister, Chief Justice of India and departed leaders, including Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, in the advertisements issued by the government and its agencies.