Government advertisements: India
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Inclusion of pictures of PM, President & CJI and not netas: SC
The Times of India, May 14 2015
Personality cults anti-democracy, says Apex Court
The Supreme Court has put an end to taxpayer-funded, fullblown narcissism of politicians by banning the government from issuing media advertisements containing photos of chief ministers, ministers and political leaders of ruling parties. A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and P C Ghose said exceptions could be made only for photographs of the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India. The court said publishing photographs of politicians, associating them with government policy and its achievement, could develop personality cult in the country which was a direct antithesis of democratic functioning, and this should not be allowed. With the court's ruling, pictures of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other leaders would vanish from government advertisements in media and other public places.
While the SC order may appear to tilt the advertising space to the advantage of the ruling party at the Centre, it will offer respite from the eyesore of politicians of all hues and sizes staring from the skyline or leaping out at readers from morning papers.
While ministers and lawmakers, both at the Centre and in states, governors and leaders of different political parties are going to be affected, it is the chief ministers, faces of state governments, who will bear the brunt. The Delhi government's hoardings at various places in the capital featuring Arvind Kejriwal will also have to be removed. Expressing concern over the misuse of public funds for personal political gains, the bench said there was nothing wrong in government advertising its policies and achievements but it must be done without naming the party in power and without containing pictures of its leaders.