1. 1: NGOs’ PIL (2003)
  2. 2: UPA-Government’s reply
  3. 3: Supreme Court order (2014, April)
  4. 4: Madhava Menon report (2014, October)

1: NGOs’ PIL (2003)

  1. Government advertisements even carry photos of ruling party leaders (SoniaG), try to create impression as if she is responsible for public goods.
  2. When ruling party uses public money to gain personal political mileage in government ads, it violates following articles
    1. Article 14. [Equality before the law];
    2. Article 21 because public money diverted for partisan use. This is one type of arbitrary executive action that undermines liberty of the citizens.
    3. Therefore citizen can seek remedy in Supreme Court, under Article 32.

2: UPA-Government’s reply

  1. NGO petitioner is exaggerating the matter. After all 60% of the Govt. ads deal with job recruitment, public tender and notices.
  2. Ads are not done for personal publicity but for informing junta about sarkari schemes named after *you know who*.
  3. That way, junta can make informed decisions.

3: Supreme Court order (2014, April)

  1. Canada, Australia have official policy to regulate Govt. ads and prevent their abuse.
  2. But India doesn’t have such policy- to decide which ads are meant for public awareness purpose and which ads have political motive.
  3. Hence we form Committee under N.R.Madhava Menon* to study best practices across the world and recommend guidelines for sarkaari-ads.
  4. Committee to give report within three months.
Committee members
N.R. Madhava Menon Ex-Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.
Ranjit Kumar Solicitor-General
T.K. Viswanathan Ex-Law Secretary

4: Madhava Menon report (2014, October)

NR Madhava Menon Committee on Government advertizements

Major recommendations of Madhava Menon Committee on Govt. ads

Government ads must not display following:

  • Stop glorification of political figure or party in power- especially on the eve of elections.
  • Donor publish photos political leaders  (except President/Prime Minister or Governor/Chief Minister)
  • Donor name of the political parties including ruling party.
  • No political symbol/logo/flag.
  • No website links to political parties or political leader.
  • No attack on opposition parties.

Government ads should cover only following:

  1. Ads related to government responsibilities, public safety, awareness.
  2. Government ads shall maintain political neutrality. Display message in objective and fair manner.
  3. Prior to elections, display no Government ads, except following:
    1. Law and order related
    2. Public health, disaster precaution, safety advisories
    3. Job applications, tender-contract advertisements
  4. During Nehru, Gandhi or xyz anniversary, multiple ministries, departments and PSUs run separate advertisements, thus wasting public money. For such anniversaries/ commemorations, issue only single advertisement.
  5. Additionally: setup an Ombudsman to check violation of these guidelines.
Congress advertizement on public money

If congress elected back in power, they won’t be able to do this

Mock Question (GS2): The use of government advertising as a tool for political propaganda, especially during election time, has been a key concern in many democracies. List the suggestions made by Madhav Menon panel to address this issue in India. 200 words.

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