Sunday, October 25, 2020
Home News Reports Ads of Delhi Government all over India, are they legal?

Ads of Delhi Government all over India, are they legal?

If you have read your newspaper today, no matter where in India you are, you might have seen extensive coverage of Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP Government in Delhi, that too mostly positive articles, and all condensed on a double page. No, all Indian media houses did not decide to simultaneously publish such an Ode to the Delhi Government, but in fact these are advertisements published by the AAP Government.

What distinguishes these advertisements from the run of the mill ads which political parties often put up, are the fact that these AAP Government ads are designed so as to look like proper news articles. The modus operandi seems to be news article styled pieces which glorify the AAP Government are published on newspapers. Such “ads” were seen in far flung cities and villages all across the country including Karnataka, Mumbai, Ajmer, Gujarat, Odisha, Agra, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Goa , Indore , Kerala and even vernacular papers. There seems to be no pattern to these places, some states are due elections soon, some have just gone through a round of elections and some have a considerable amount of time till elections are due.

Some of the newspapers mention that this feature is an “advertorial”, some get creative, using names such as: “marketing solutions”, “Vigyapan Parishisht” etc, while many remain silent and do not mention anywhere that these are not regular news pieces but advertisements. This seems to be the result of the Rs 526 crore advertising budget of the Delhi Government. But are such advertisements legal? After all, Kejriwal has previously been censured by the courts and the CAG

Let us examine what the Supreme Court has to say on Government advertisements. A Historic Judgment was delivered after a writ petition was filed by “Common Cause and Center For Public Interest Litigation” which sought a restraining order against misuse of public funds for advertisements which are intended “to project individual functionaries of the Government or a political party” and sought drafting of guidelines to be formulated by the SC. The SC judgement clearly mentions that the “guidelines” are only for the time till a formal policy is rolled out by the government. In view of this the Government of India has constituted a committee to formulate advertisement guidelines. Until the committee comes up with the same, all Governments have to adhere to the SC laid guidelines.

So what exactly are the guidelines? Let us examine para wise.

Objects of the Guidelines

Objects
Objects

The purpose of the guidelines is clearly to prevent “arbitrary” use of public funds without any “attendant public interest”. The guidelines seek to ensure that “government messaging is well co-ordinated and effectively managed”. It further seeks to ensure all government activities satisfy the test of “reasonableness”.

Critically examining the object of the guidelines and advertisements issued by Kejriwal led Delhi Government, it is clear that these guidelines aren’t being followed in both letter and spirit. What explains issuance of “advertorials” about the work of the a small state Government like Delhi in far off Gujarat or Chennai. How does it affect them?

Government Advertisement to “Inform People”

To Inform people
To Inform people

Delhi Government’s constitutional obligation is towards the people of Delhi. It has absolutely no right to splurge tax-payers moneys on advertisements all over India. They are not “obligated” to inform people sitting in Bhopal, Varanasi or Chennai. They are answerable to people in Delhi.

2

The only kind of ads which would be justified to be published all over India would be if the ads were to invite investors to a business summit, instead the Ads in question, talk about mundane things like renaming a fly-over. Is it any “substantial change in policy, products or services” which require spending of crores of rupees? It can be argued that the content of the advertisement was to appease Punjabi voters for the upcoming elections. Same case with increase in salaries of Punjabi teachers or making Punjabi compulsory language.

Further few days back the Delhi Government issued an advertisement with many spelling errors thereby violating clause 2(vii) of the guidelines. It shows there are no systems to cross-check or pre-test the material. Its sheer wastage of funds.

Political interests

Recently Delhi government issued advertisement in which they said “The Center has withheld  approvals to 14 such bills of public interest passed by the Delhi Assembly” and mentioned “they kept troubling us, we kept working” including a “humble appeal to the central government”. This is what the guidelines say:

Political Interests
Political Interests

This ad by the AAP Government is clearly not maintaining political neutrality,  and attempts to further political ambitions and “directly attacks the views or actions of others in opposition”

Can this be contempt of court?

Patronising Media houses

Patronizing media houses
Patronising media houses

SC guidelines clearly mention that advertisements shall not be used to receive “favourable” reporting but in earlier post by Arpit Parashar it was alleged that Delhi Government might be misusing “power of the purse”

Basically the SC order expects governments to ensure that

  • advertising campaigns are to be related to government responsibilities,
  • materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and designed to meet objectives of the campaign,
  • not directed at promoting political interests of a Party,
  • campaigns must be justified and undertaken in an efficient and cost-effective manner and
  • advertisements must comply with legal requirements and financial regulations and
  • procedures

Can the Kejriwal Government clearly claim adherence to these guidelines?

We will probably never hear anything about this from our esteemed media, because by questioning AAP Government’s ad spend, they will kill their own revenue source: Either AAP Government will withdraw ads to punish the media, or the ads may stop thanks to law taking its course.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Ashutosh Muglikar
Articles on Corporate Laws, Policy, Economics and Politics. Maverick. Lover of Ideas. Slayer of Hoaxes.

Related Articles

Trending now

After Turkey President Erdogan says Macron ‘needs treatment’ over attitude to Muslims, Pakistanis trend #boycottfranceproducts on Twitter

Pakistani bots putting their weight behind Turkey president Erdogan's call of 'giving treatment' to French President Macron.

India Today releases a squint eyed statement, pats itself in the back for paying Rs 5 L to the court in TRP manipulation case,...

India Today has released a statement on the current TRP scam and it makes no sense.

“Allah will burn this woman in Hell”, Islamists attack TMC leader Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Puja

"You are the descendant of Satan -Evil. Don't you feel any shame for doing such dirty things?" an extremist commented on Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Pujo.

Times Now asked to air apology to Rahul Gandhi fangirl Sanjukta Basu for calling her ‘Hindu hater’, “We won”, she tweets

The directive to Times Now comes 19 months after Basu had filed a complaint with the NBSA.

Pakistan: Hindu temple vandalised during Navratri, idol of Hinglaj Mata broken by miscreants in Sindh

While taking cognisance of the despicable incident, the Sindh police have assured that they would nab the miscreants soon for vandalising the Hindu temple.

Maharashtra Police arrests Twitter user Sameet Thakkar over ‘Baby Penguin’ remark against Aaditya Thackeray

Twitter user Sameet Thakkar from Nagpur has been arrested for posting derogatory tweets against the Thackerays.

Recently Popular

‘He supplies drugs and girls’: Estranged wife of Mahesh Bhatt’s nephew Luviena Lodh alleges harassment by nephew-uncle duo

Luviena Lodh said that Mahesh Bhatt is the don of the industry, and he controls everything that goes on in the film industry

France: Charlie Hebdo cartoons projected on government building to express solidarity with deceased teacher who was beheaded by Islamic terrorist

Days after the barbaric beheading of teacher Samuel Paty on the streets of Paris by a terrorist for showing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students, support continues to pour in for the deceased teacher.

Radio Mirchi RJ finds space with radical preacher Zakir Naik as she waters down terms like ‘Kafir’ and ‘Jihad’

A video featuring Radio Mirchi RJ Sayema is doing rounds on the internet in which she was seen normalising anti-Hindu bigotry by legitimising the usage of radical Islamic terms as 'Kafir' and 'Jihad'.

‘Encounter specialist’ cop facing murder charges and reinstated by Param Bir Singh had joined Shiv Sena

Sachin Vaze, Pradeep Sharma, who were both 'encounter specialist' cops facing murder charges, were close to Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh

Faisal Khan says he wants to come out of brother Aamir Khan’s shadow who had earlier called him ‘mentally ill’

Faisal Khan said he will have to break out of his superstar brother's shadow and make his own decisions so that people recognise him as an individual

Exclusive: Conversation that shows how Mumbai Police is trying to coerce witness into naming Republic TV in TRP scam

While Hansa Research report and the FIR filed named India Today in TRP scam, in less than 24 hours, Mumbai Police had seemingly made up its mind that Republic TV was the culprit
- Advertisement -

Assam: Congress MLA demands ‘Miya Museum’ for immigrant Bangladeshis, govt rejects saying they don’t have separate culture

"No question of a museum there reflecting other culture and civilization", Himanta Biswa Sarma rejecting Miya Museum demand of Congress MLA

After Turkey President Erdogan says Macron ‘needs treatment’ over attitude to Muslims, Pakistanis trend #boycottfranceproducts on Twitter

Pakistani bots putting their weight behind Turkey president Erdogan's call of 'giving treatment' to French President Macron.

Xitler: Activists campaign to shift the 2022 Winter Olympics away from China, pointing out how Hitler had used the 1936 games to promote himself

Hashtag #MoveTheGames is trending on Twitter to urge organizers to move venue for Winter Olympics 2022 out of China

India Today releases a squint eyed statement, pats itself in the back for paying Rs 5 L to the court in TRP manipulation case,...

India Today has released a statement on the current TRP scam and it makes no sense.

News Broadcasters Association asks Republic journalists not to cross ‘Lakshman Rekha’, says their journalism is toxic and unethical

NBA issues statement in Mumbai Police-Republic TV clash, says it does on agree with the channel while paying lip service to freedom of speech

“Allah will burn this woman in Hell”, Islamists attack TMC leader Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Puja

"You are the descendant of Satan -Evil. Don't you feel any shame for doing such dirty things?" an extremist commented on Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Pujo.

Times Now asked to air apology to Rahul Gandhi fangirl Sanjukta Basu for calling her ‘Hindu hater’, “We won”, she tweets

The directive to Times Now comes 19 months after Basu had filed a complaint with the NBSA.

Pakistan: Hindu temple vandalised during Navratri, idol of Hinglaj Mata broken by miscreants in Sindh

While taking cognisance of the despicable incident, the Sindh police have assured that they would nab the miscreants soon for vandalising the Hindu temple.

Maharashtra Police arrests Twitter user Sameet Thakkar over ‘Baby Penguin’ remark against Aaditya Thackeray

Twitter user Sameet Thakkar from Nagpur has been arrested for posting derogatory tweets against the Thackerays.

Congress MLA Jitu Patwari insults Shivraj Singh Chouhan while boasting of Kamal Nath’s industrialist friends

Congress MLA Jitu Patwari while addressing a rally in Mandhata referred to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Kamal Nath's 'pair ki dhool' (unworthy).

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
468,206FollowersFollow
19,200SubscribersSubscribe