- 1: NGOs’ PIL (2003)
- 2: UPA-Government’s reply
- 3: Supreme Court order (2014, April)
- 4: Madhava Menon report (2014, October)
- Government advertisements even carry photos of ruling party leaders (SoniaG), try to create impression as if she is responsible for public goods.
- When ruling party uses public money to gain personal political mileage in government ads, it violates following articles
- Article 14. [Equality before the law];
- Article 21 because public money diverted for partisan use. This is one type of arbitrary executive action that undermines liberty of the citizens.
- Therefore citizen can seek remedy in Supreme Court, under Article 32.
- NGO petitioner is exaggerating the matter. After all 60% of the Govt. ads deal with job recruitment, public tender and notices.
- Ads are not done for personal publicity but for informing junta about sarkari schemes named after *you know who*.
- That way, junta can make informed decisions.
- Canada, Australia have official policy to regulate Govt. ads and prevent their abuse.
- But India doesn’t have such policy- to decide which ads are meant for public awareness purpose and which ads have political motive.
- Hence we form Committee under N.R.Madhava Menon* to study best practices across the world and recommend guidelines for sarkaari-ads.
- Committee to give report within three months.
|N.R. Madhava Menon||Ex-Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.|
|T.K. Viswanathan||Ex-Law Secretary|
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:
- Ads related to government responsibilities, public safety, awareness.
- Government ads shall maintain political neutrality. Display message in objective and fair manner.
- Prior to elections, display no Government ads, except following:
- Law and order related
- Public health, disaster precaution, safety advisories
- Job applications, tender-contract advertisements
- 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.
- Additionally: setup an Ombudsman to check violation of these guidelines.
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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