NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday held that the issue of alleged misuse of public funds for advertisements by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be examined by a three-member committee set up by the Central government. The Centre formed the committee to check alleged violation of guidelines with regard to content in government advertising.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini ruled that, “The issue of content regulation with regard to government advertising will be taken up by the Central government’s committee and addressed in a timely manner. Accordingly, the petitions stand disposed of.”
The court was hearing a batch of petitions, including one by Congress leader Ajay Maken, alleging misuse of public funds by the AAP and calling them as politically motivated advertisements in violation of advertising guidelines.
The three-member committee, headed by former chief election commissioner B B Tandon, was constituted by the Centre following an apex court order on May 13, 2015.
The Supreme Court order laid down the criteria for content in government advertisements under the Government Advertisement (Content Regulation) Guidelines, 2014, to check misuse of public money.
The apex court’s order said government ads can only carry pictures of certain dignitaries like the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India. Subsequently, modifying its earlier order, the apex court extended the list to include photographs of governors, chief ministers, and Union and State cabinet ministers.
All states were directed to appoint their own committees to monitor government advertisements under the Supreme Court’s directions. On August 7, the AAP government told the court that it had set up its own panel to regulate advertisements, according to the apex court’s order.