Ahead of Assembly Polls, SC Okays CMs' Pics in Ads

In its earlier order, the court had held that only the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India could feature in government ads.

Published: 19th March 2016 05:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2016 05:56 AM   |  A+A-

supreme court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday gave major relief to various states, including poll-bound West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam, by modifying its earlier order and thereby allowing photographs of Chief Ministers, Governors and Ministers to be carried in public advertisements.

In its earlier order, the court had held that only the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India could feature in government advertisments, a decision that was challenged by the Centre and seven states.

“The exception carved out in paragraph 23 of ... the judgment dated May 13, 2015 permitting publication of the photographs of the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the country, subject to the said authorities themselves deciding the question, is now extended to the Governors and the Chief Ministers of the States,” a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

“In lieu of the photograph of the Prime Minister, the photograph of the Departmental (Cabinet) Minister/Minister In-charge of the concerned Ministry may be published, if so desired,” the order stated.

The bench said that similarly in the states, the photograph of the cabinet minister or minister in-charge, in lieu of the photograph of the Chief Minister, could be published, if so desired.

The bench, however, clarified that all other directions in the May 13, 2015 judgment would remain in force.

The verdict came on pleas by the Centre and Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, which had sought a review of apex court’s verdict on grounds that it infringed upon fundamental rights and the federal structure. The Centre, during the hearing, had strongly favoured a review of the verdict on various grounds, including that if the Prime Minister’s photograph was allowed in the advertisements then the same right should be available to his cabinet colleagues as the Prime Minister was the “first among the equals”.

The Attorney General had also contended that if only the Prime Minister’s photograph is allowed in government advertisements then it could be said that it would promote a “personality cult”, which has been described as “an anti-thesis of democracy” by the same court.

The Centre, while seeking review, had earlier said that Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) of the Indian Constitution empowered the state and the citizens to “give and receive” information and it could not be curtailed and regulated by the courts.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp