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Haryana Khattar Government Vs Supreme Court ruling on ‘NO’ to politicians’ photos in government ads


Haryana Khattar Government Vs Supreme Court ruling on ‘NO’ to politicians’ photos in government ads

Haryana Khattar Government is splashing CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s pictures in Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon launch outdoors plastered across the millennium city erstwhile Gurgaon, which the same government renamed Gurugram.

“Antithesis to Democracy”, described Supreme Court in a critical judgement where it ruled against political figures or leaders developing “personality cult” using public money. The Supreme court directed a complete stop on the publication of photographs of individuals like Chief Minister, Governor, etc. the court rightly pointed that it was futile to waste public exchequer’s money on associating achievements and social benefit schemes to individuals, where there is an entire machinery and multiple parties involved.

President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India were the only functionaries exempted whose photographs can be used for promotion, advertising in media across newspapers, electronic media, the internet, etc.

Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and P C Ghose said:

“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”. Further adding, “Institutions need not be glorified, but they must earn glory by contribution and work”.

Why is it that our political class always needs the Supreme Court to tell them through a straight stick when many things like splashing own pictures on Government advertisements is immoral, to say the least. Not just that at times these pictures are even bigger than the matter the ad was published in the first place.

The court even went to the extent of advising the government to stop patronising media at both central and state level and even ensure impartial awarding of advertisements taking note of reach and circulation. The court even directed the centre to set up a three-member body of ombudsmen to ensure implementation of its directions.

It is disappointing to see that on the one hand, PM Modi talks about efficiency, productivity, morality and austerity and on the contrary, this vulgar display of exchequer money is at play under his leadership.

Let’s see how things play out when the government plans a mega party of its three-year completion. Will again money be splurged like ‘Shining India’ or the people will be allowed to celebrate their government.

We would recommend that PM Modi should do a special ‘Mann Ki Baat’ maybe an address on Doordarshan and rest leave it to people. So much good can be done by not spending that money which we are sure is on the cards.

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