CM Photo in Government Ads: SC Seeks Centre's Response

Published: 15th September 2015 04:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th September 2015 05:06 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on pleas made by several state governments, including Tamil Nadu, to review its verdict banning the publication of photographs of Chief Ministers from government advertisements.

A Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, while issuing notice, directed the hearing of the matter on October 13.  Apart from the centre, the Bench also issued notice to the NGOs Common Cause and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) on a plea by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam and West Bengal seeking the recall of its order prohibiting use of photographs of Governors and Chief Ministers in advertisements issued by the government and its agencies.

The Bench, after considering the matter in the chamber on September 9, had decided to hear it in the open court on Monday.

TN, Karnataka, Assam and Bengal, seeking the recall of the apex court’s May 13 order prohibiting the use of photographs of the Governor, CM, ministers, and political leaders in advertisements issued by the government and its agencies, argued they enjoy autonomy in a federal structure of governance and, if the court can let  PM’s photos to be published in advertisements heralding new projects and welfare schemes, CM’s too have every right to have their photos published.

Sharma Empowered

The SC on Monday gave the power to summon any person to former CBI Special Director M L Sharma in his inquiry against Ranjit Sinha, accused of scuttling probe in the coal block allocation scam as the agency’s chief.

“We make it clear that M L Sharma is entitled to summon any person in the inquiry,” a Special Bench of Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said. The Bench also ordered that he would have access to all documents required for the probe. It directed Sharma to submit report of inquiry in three months, while accepting his requirement of three retired cops and two support staff for carrying out the job entrusted to him.

Finds Fault with CBI

The SC on Monday blamed the CBI for its failure to fill vacancies in the agency, thus leading to shortfall of investigators in probing major cases. “There should be a CBI probe against the CBI for not promoting staffers inside the CBI. You (CBI) have created the present situation because of your own apathy towards the problem on which you keep harping upon,” a Bench headed by Justice T S Thakur observed.

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