The Supreme Court on Monday asked Congress leader Ajay Maken to approach the Delhi High Court with his petition, in which he has accused the AAP government in Delhi of breaching the apex court regulations on public advertisements.
A bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the court has already passed its order and laid down comprehensive guidelines on the issue, and that it is not possible to now entertain individual cases of violations.
The bench told Maken’s counsel Vikas Singh that the other efficacious remedy of moving the HC was available to him. When Singh pointed out that the HC may send him back to the bench saying the guidelines were framed by the top court, the bench agreed to ask the HC to adjudicate Maken’s grievances on merits.
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Earlier, senior advocate Singh told the bench that the guidelines have been flouted by the Delhi government and that the budgetary allocation for public advertisements has also been raised from nearly Rs 30 crore to Rs 500 crore.
In its judgment in May, the apex court had ruled that photographs of only the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India can be published in newspapers and other media, including the Internet.
Prohibiting publication of photographs of even governors and chief ministers using the public exchequer, a bench of Justices Gogoi and P C Ghose said “institutions need not be glorified but they must earn glory by contribution and work”. “Photographs, therefore, have the potential of developing the personality cult and the image of one or a few individuals which is a direct antithesis of democratic functioning,” it had noted.
Hours after the SC declined to hear Maken’s plea, a plea was filed before the HC by an NGO with ties to the BJP on the same issue. The petition by NGO Nyaaya Path alleges that the recent ad campaign by the AAP government, with the tagline “Woh pareshan karte rahe, hum kaam karte rahe (They trouble us while we work)” was an “illegal” campaign in violation of SC orders banning “personality-based” ads for political parties.