CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday informed the Madras High Court that advertisements given in all mediums about the achievements of the ruling party have been stopped since February 18 after the DMK moved a petition in the court on the issue.
The petitioner RS Bharathi of the opposition party stated that courts across the country have already ruled that political parties cannot use public funds for advertising and gaining mileage for their party functionaries and leaders.
The petitioner said that the AIADMK had also printed two crore carry bags during the distribution of the Pongal gift hamper with the face of the Chief Minister spending at least Rs 20 crores from the public exchequer.
During the hearing on Monday before the first bench comprising the Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, the advocate general Vijay Narayan contended that a total of Rs 64.72 crores was spent on the advertisements.
“The advertisements were issued only to showcase the performance of the state government for the past four years. All such activities will be stopped once the Election Commission of India (ECI) notifies elections for the state,” he added.
The entire issue will be infructuous once the ECI notifies the date and also all the advertisements have been stopped since last Thursday (Feb 18), he added.
However, senior advocate P Wilson, appearing for the DMK, contended that the opposition party gave representations on the advertisements in January and February 2021 to the ECI.
He also said that no action has been initiated by the ECI on the complaints given and also there is a direction issued in 2016 to political parties not to indulge in such acts and clarified that it would attract freezing of election symbols.
Countering the submissions made, senior advocate G Rajagopal appearing for the ECI submitted that it was still awaiting a reply from the AIADMK on the issue.
The bench recording the submissions adjourned the hearing to March 2 for the state government to file a detailed report.