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My Petition to SC appointed Advertisement Committee against AAP Govt expenditure on Advertisements

​7th May, 2016

To,
Shri B.B. Tandon

The Chairman,

Committee on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements

Soochna Bhawan, CGO Complex,

Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003
Subject: Violation of Apex Court Advertisement Guidelines by GNCTD.
Dear Shri Tandon,
The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its Judgment dated 13.05.2015 [Common Cause Vs. UOI, W.P.(C) 13 of 2003], issued the Guidelines on Content Regulation of Government Advertising (hereinafter referred to as the “Judgement”/ “Guidelines”) and also directed the Government of India to form a three-member committee to ensure the implementation of the said Guidelines. A copy of the said Judgment is attached herewith as ANNEXURE – 1.
That vide the present representation, the undersigned seeks to bring to notice of the august committee, the various instances whereat the Government of NCT of Delhi (hereinafter referred to as the “GNCTD”) has openly flouted the Government Advertisement Guidelines laid down by the Apex Court. The undersigned further seeks necessary action/ directions against the GNCTD to- (1) ensure recovery of the public funds misappropriated on such illegal advertisements; and (2) immediate ban on all such illegal Ads of GNCTD. 
Moreover, to ensure propriety and strict compliance of the Hon’ble Apex Court’s Judgment/ Guidelines, such recovery shall be made at non-DAVP rates from the individuals responsible/ party in power, who permitted/ published the illegal political Ads on account of taxpayers’ money, and the amount so recovered shall be directed to be reimbursed to the corpus of GNCTD for public welfare purposes.
Moving on to the violative advertisements, for the convenience of this Committee, the said advertisements are being dealt under the following heads:
1) Outstation/ National Level Ads by GNCTD;

2) Ads in Newspapers – deceivingly designed as Newspaper reports;

3) False/ Misleading Ads;

4) Large-scale Ads on Anniversary of party in power;

5) Ads for self-glorification and to target political opponents;

6) Ads against the media;

7) Ads mentioning the party in power by name;

8) Ads on issues outside the jurisdiction of the GNCTD;

9) Unequal distribution of Ads to patronize select media houses
I. OUTSTATION/ NATIONAL LEVEL ADS
i. On 14.02.2016, the present Delhi Government, headed by Chief Minister Sh. Arvind Kejriwal, completed its one year in power and to celebrate the same, the GNCTD launched a massive advertisement and publicity campaign which aimed at glorifying the party in power, not only in Delhi, but surprisingly, the said campaign was also launched in all the States and Union Territories, i.e. across the length and breadth of the country.

ii.   The said Anniversary Ad campaign accrued a burden of about Rs. 100 Crores on the public exchequer of Delhi. However, since the same were in violation of the said Guidelines, the GNCTD cannot be allowed to blatantly misuse public money on such Advertisement Campaigns, especially for Ads published outside Delhi. 

iii.   In order to understand how the said Outstation Advertisements are in violation of the Advertisement Guidelines, it is important to take a look at the relevant clauses of the said Guidelines, which are as under:-
“4.   OBJECTS: 
The objects of these Guidelines are:- 
(a) to prevent arbitrary use of public funds for advertising by public authorities to project particular personalities, parties or governments without any attendant public interest…………..”
“6.  THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF CONTENT REGULATION: 

While placing advertisements or purchasing advertising space in any media, the Government shall be guided by the following principles, namely:-
(1) Advertising Campaigns to be related to Government responsibilities: 
While it is the duty of the Government to provide the public with timely, accurate, clear, objective and complete information about its policies, programmes, services and initiatives since the public has a right to such information, the content of government advertisements should be relevant to the governments’ constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizens’ rights and entitlements.
(3) Advertisement materials should be objective and not directed at promoting political interests of ruling party:  

…..
(v) Government advertisements shall not be used at patronizing media houses or aimed at receiving favourable reporting for the party or person in power”
iv. Keeping in mind the abovementioned Clauses, it is now important to highlight the various types of Outstation/ National Level Ads published by GNCTD and how the same are in violation of the Guidelines, which is as under:
A. Ads in Newspapers of various states outside Delhi
(a) In the said One Year Anniversary Ad campaign, the most glaring and shocking Ads were the multiple full page advertisements, published in various newspapers of all the States and Union Territories throughout India. Such advertisements were published by the GNCTD in the newspapers of Punjab, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Rajasthan etc. 
That apart from the said Anniversary Outstation Ads, the GNCTD is also publishing Outstation Newspapers Ads on other occasions and it is thus important to restrain such advertisements in the future.
Copies of the several advertisements published by the GNCTD in Outstation Newspapers are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-2.
(b) A bare perusal of the said advertisements shows how the GNCTD wasted public funds running into Crores, on a daily basis, solely for promoting the party in power and its leaders. Such Ad campaigns in places outside Delhi serve no public purpose, whatsoever, either for the people of Delhi or for the people of other states/ cities where such Ads were published. 
(c) That the scale and magnitude of the misuse of the public funds is evident from the fact that the GNCTD has published advertisements on 3 to 4 full-pages of various newspapers published on 14.02.2016 and 15.02.2016 throughout India, the cost of which would run into Crores of Rupees.
(d) That the programmes and policies of the GNCTD were advertised in publications and newspapers of several cities throughout India, even though the public of those states/ cities have no connection, whatsoever, in the programmes and policies of the GNCTD. Thus, public funds were openly misappropriated by the GNCTD in order to give unjust political mileage to the Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders by publishing advertisements in regions which have no concern with the policies and programmes of the GNCTD. 
SUBMISSIONS
(i) Object clause (a) r/w clause 6 of the Guidelines provides, that public funds cannot be used arbitrarily to glorify political personalities/ party in power, without any attendant public interest. Moreover, the guidelines also provides that Government Ads shall be restricted to Government responsibilities.
(ii) In view of the above, neither the people of other states/ cities are the responsibility of the GNCTD, and nor the people of Delhi are benefitted with such Ads in any manner. Therefore outstation ads are nothing but a blatant glorification and political exercise by the GNCTD in order to further the prospects of the ruling party in other states. Moreover, such outstation Ads fall completely outside the scope of the jurisdiction and constitutional duty of the GNCTD.
B. Ads on various Radio Stations operating outside Delhi:
(a) That apart from publishing Ads in outstation newspapers, the GNCTD has also been airing Ads on local Radio channels operating in other States and Union Territories. For instance, the Ads of ‘one year anniversary’ of GNCTD were broadcasted on local radio channels of Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad etc., even though the same will neither serve any public interest of the people of Delhi, nor will it serve the public interest of the people residing in the said cities.
(b) Further, it is important to point out that the said radio Ads are aired in Hindi and are even being broadcasted on radio channels in states/cities where the Hindi language is not even understood/ spoken by the local population.
SUBMISSIONS
That such deliberate misuse of public money on outstation Advertisements is not only a desperate glorification exercise on behalf of the Party in Power but also a complete waste of resources in the sense that the target audience, in case of outstation ads, are nowhere concerned with the schemes and policies of the GNCTD, nor do the people of Delhi benefit from the said advertisement, in any possible way.
C. Ads on National TV Channels:
(a) That, inter-alia, the ‘one year anniversary’ celebration of the ruling party also included large-scale TV Ads funded out of public money. The said Ads are also a blatant abuse of the Guidelines of the Apex Court, as even regional channels such as ETV Bihar, Sun TV etc. were given large advertisement contracts by the GNCTD. However, apart from glorification of the Party in Power, such Ads to regional and national media channels served no public purpose.
A Release Order dated 15.02.2016 of the GNCTD in favour of NDTV reveals that the one year anniversary Advertisement acitivity of the GNCTD was being telecasted on National Level.

Copy of the said Release Order dated 15.02.2016 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-3.

v. Effect on neutrality of Media houses (Para 10 of the SC Judgment)

As stated above, these Outstation Ads are of no benefit to the public of Delhi or that of the concerned state. However, they do have one effect i.e generating Crores of revenue for the media houses and therefore, it is natural that the same will lead to patronization of the said media house/ newspaper. That such partonization of media houses is opposed to the intention of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Judgment dated 13.05.2015.
Furthermore, if the GNCTD is permitted to continue such large scale abuse of Delhi’s Taxpayers money only for benefitting media houses by publishing illogical Ads outside Delhi, then the neutrality of media houses is liable to be compromised. 
Thus, in view of the above highlighted facts and provisions, the outstation ads of the GNCTD cannot be allowed within the ambit of the said guidelines as the same falls completely outside the constitutional obligation of the GNCTD and specifically barred by the said Guidelines. 
vi. Thus, in view of the above highlighted facts and provisions, the outstation ads of the GNCTD cannot be allowed within the ambit of the said guidelines as the same falls completely outside the constitutional obligation of the GNCTD and specifically barred by the said Guidelines.
II. ADS IN NEWSPAPERS – DECEIVINGLY DESIGNED AS NEWSPAPER REPORTS 
i. February, 2016 onwards the GNCTD has started a new trend of publishing Ads/ Advertorials which are styled and designed in such a deceptive manner, so as to give the readers an impression that the same are actual/genuine newspaper articles and reports, rather than paid advertisements. The said advertisements are so deceiving that one of the newspapers (Indian Express) in its edition dated 14.02.2016, had to publish a clarification whereby the readers were informed that certain pages of the newspaper are advertisements (referring to ads of GNCTD) and not actual newspaper reports. 

ii. Therefore, advertisements in form of newspaper reports are utterly misleading and are aimed to deceive people at large by giving the impression that newspapers are lauding the work of the Government.
True copies of a few of such deceptive Ad/ Advertorials of the GNCTD are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-4.
A true copy of a clarification as published by the Indian Express in its newspaper dated 14.02.2016 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-5.
III FALSE / MISLEADING ADS

i. That most of the ‘One year celebratory’ Ads and Advertorials published by the GNCTD in form of newspaper reports contain false, incorrect and misleading information. Further, the contents of these full page Ads are purely political in nature, target the opposition parties and serve no attendant public purpose whatsoever. 
ii. For the sake of convenience of the commission, the contents of some of such misleading and false advertisements/ advertorials are explained hereinbelow:
A. “Three ISBTs to be revamped”
In a full page advertisement dated 16.02.2016 published in the TOI across the country, under the headline “Three ISBTS to be revamped”, the GNCTD has claimed as follows: 
a. “the bus fleet in the capital has been augmented” 
b. “Work on restoration of the facade, creation of facilities toilets….. will be completed before the Commonwealth Games”. 
c. Further, the said Ad also quotes and claims that one Shri Arvinder Singh is the present Transport Minister of GNCTD.
With regard to the baseless claims made by the GNCTD in the said advertisement, it is submitted that:
a. As per the records of the Transport Department of the GNCTD itself, not even a single DTC bus was purchased by the GNCTD, in fact the bus fleet has considerably declined under the present government. 
b. The claims to complete the up-gradation work before the Commonwealth Games is also baseless, as the said games were already concluded in the year 2010 itself. 
c. Even Shri Arvinder Singh had ceased to be the Transport Minister in 2013 i.e. in the regime of the previous Government. Thus, the said full page advertisement is nothing but a public eyewash wherein the taxpayers has been completely wasted for false glorification of the current Chief Minister and his party. 
True Copy along with Typed Copy of the Advertisement dated 16.02.2016 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-6.
A Copy of the records of the Transport Department, GNCTD, confirming no increase in the fleet of buses is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-7.
B. 350 Crores saved in construction of Elevated Corridor
In a separate full page Advertisement dated 17.02.2016, published as a newspaper report, the GNCTD has claimed that in the construction of the fly-over/ elevated corridor from ‘Madhuban Chawk to Mukarba Chawk’ (Outer Ring Road), it has managed to save Rs. 100 Crores, by reducing the construction cost of the said fly-over from 421 Crores to 321 Crores. It has been claimed that Rs. 421 Crores was the Original Cost of the project, approved by the previous Congress Government. 
However, an RTI Reply dated 24.02.2016 reveals that tender for the said fly-over was awarded on 19.03.2013 (by the previous Government), that too only for Rs. 2,79,90,17,435/- (Rs. 279 Crores). Thus, when the tender was itself for Rs. 279 Crores, the GNCTD (through the said Ad) firstly fooled the public, by claiming that the proposed cost of the fly-over was Rs. 421 Crores. Further, in the said Ad, the present Chief Minister has himself stated that the final construction cost of the said flyover was Rs. 321 Crores. So this being the admitted position, there arises no question of any funds being saved, rather, the GNCTD has spent extra funds in completion of the said project, as compared to the original Tender Cost of Rs. 279 Crores in approved in March, 2013.
True Copy along with True Translated Copy of the Ad dated 17.02.2016 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-8
A copy of the RTI reply dated 24.02.2016 confirming that no money was saved in construction of the flyover is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-9.

 

C. “CBI raid draws widespread criticism” 
In the same set of ‘One year achievements’, another Ad was published by GNCTD in form of newspaper report, under the headline “CBI raid draws widespread criticism”.
It is important to note that such politically motivated ads do not serve any public purpose whatsoever and are being published by the GNCTD to advance political activities of the party in power and to target the opposition, on account of public money. Therefore GNCTD must be immediately restrained from unnecessarily wasting funds on purely political Ads.
True Copy along with Typed Copy of the Ad titled as “CBI raid draws widespread criticism” is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-10. 
That apart from the above false ads, the GNCTD has published several other such misleading Ads. Accordingly, a document containing the particulars of the said Ads, as well as the misleading information therein, is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-11
Hence, from a bare perusal of the above advertisements, it is abundantly clear that the GNCTD is splurging Crores of Rupees to make false claims, target the opposition and for self-glorification in order to hide its administrative failures and that the same is in absolute violation of the Government Advertisement Guidelines, 2014.
That the above instances are only a few examples of the misleading and false Advertisements being published by the GNCTD on account of public money. Further, it is also imperative to highlight that the said Ads are not only published in Delhi, but across all States and Union Territories, therefore there is a wide-spread dissemination of false information by GNCTD in its various Advertisements.
IV LARGE-SCALE ADS ON ‘ANNIVERSARY’ OF PARTY IN POWER
i. That in blatant violation of the spirit of the Hon’ble Supreme Court guidelines, the GNCTD has been indulging in brazen misuse of public money by releasing large scale advertisement campaigns for glorifying the party in power and its leaders on irrelevant occasions such as:
Four months anniversary of AAP Government

Six months anniversary of APP Government

One year Anniversary of AAP Government
ii. It is to be noted that the above-mentioned Ad campaigns include:
a) Full page newspaper Ads in Delhi;

b) Outstation full page newspaper Ads (e.g. Punjab, Kochi, Hyedrabad, etc);

c) Ads on National and Regional TV;

d) Radio Ads in Delhi;

e) Outstation Radio Ads;

f) Outdoor hoardings etc;

g) Ads on other form of electronic media such as Internet, Twitter, Facebook etc.
iii. In this regard it is submitted that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Clauses 4 and 6 of the said Guidelines has unequivocally and repeatedly stressed that public funds cannot be allowed to be used arbitrarily for glorification of particular personalities, parties or governments, moreover, while using public funds for advertising purposes, all government activities must satisfy the test of reasonableness and public interest.  
iv. In view of the above, it is submitted that in order to meet the purpose envisaged by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the said guidelines, the GNCTD cannot be allowed to indulge in large scale Ad campaigns under the pretext of celebrating four monthly/ six monthly/ yearly anniversary of the party in power, as the same is nothing but a promotional exercise by the party in power and its leaders and a sheer wastage of public money. 
v. Moreover, where on one hand, the said guidelines requires the GNCTD to be more cautious to ensure Advertisement campaigns are undertaken in a more cost effective manner, its present conduct and large scale Ad campaigns reflect immense disregard to the directions of the Apex Court.

V. ADS TO ATTACK THE OPPOSITION AND; FOR SELF GLORIFICATION
i. That the advertisement guidelines specifically prohibit advertisements, which are aimed at attacking the opposition and at the same time promote the party in power & its leaders. The relevant part of the guidelines specifically prohibiting such ads is reproduced hereinbelow:
 “6. THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF CONTENT REGULATION: 
While placing advertisements or purchasing advertising space in any media, the Government shall be guided by the following principles, namely:-
(3) Advertisement materials should be objective and not directed at promoting political interests of ruling party:
(i) Display material must be presented in objective language and be free of political argument or partisan standpoint.
(ii) Government advertising shall maintain political neutrality and avoid glorification of political personalities and projecting a positive impression of the party in power or a negative impression of parties critical of the government. 
(iii) Advertisement materials must not –
(a) Mention the party in government by name; 

(b) directly attack the views or actions of others in opposition;”
However, in absolute disregard to the abovementioned Clause of the said Guidelines, the GNCTD has been repeatedly coming out with advertisements that are solely aimed at targeting the opposition on one hand and glorifying the Party in Power on the other. Some of the said advertisements of the GNCTD are as follows:
A. TV Ad dated 17.06.2015 (Women- staunch support of Kejriwal)
i. That on 17.06.2015, the GNCTD released a TV Ad which was frequently broadcasted in various National TV channels. The said Ad depicts a visibly upset housewife (the center figure of the ad), a staunch supporter of Shri Kejriwal, who claimed that earlier she was extremely upset as their electricity bills use to be very high and slammed the opposition/ previous Governments for the same. The Ad purports that before the Kejriwal Government came into power, it was impossible for the common man to manage the household expenditure and due to the same, they would often cry in solitude.
ii. Thereafter in the next sequence of the Ad, the housewife, in an over joyous tone, claims how immediately after Shri Kejriwal became CM, he has reduced their electricity and water bills. The GNCTD ad further claims that last month, her electricity bill was only Rs. 1,000/- and after Shri Kejriwal has come to power, there are no limits to the happiness of the common man. Elated to have Kejriwal as her new Chief Minister, she then asserts that Kejriwal has come as a messiah for her family.
iii. Thereafter, in the Ad, the women begins to taunt the other political parties by saying that the previous governments used to say that there was no money, then where did Kejriwal get the money from? Further, the woman goes on to praise Kejriwal by explaining that Kejriwal has been able to generate greater revenue for Delhi by greatly reducing corruption and by using that revenue to provide electricity & ample water subsidy to the people of Delhi.
iv. Moving further, and in order to build a messiah like image of Shri Kejriwal, the Ad states that all the cheaters/ crooks and dishonest people (opposition parties, media, etc.) have gotten together for targetting Shri Kejriwal and they keep maligning him on a daily basis.
A true copy of the Transcript of the said TV Ad dated 17.06.2015 is attached herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-12
Thus, it is submitted that by watching the said advertisement even once, it is evident that it is only aimed at glorifying Shri Kejriwal, portraying him as a godly figure and to cast a negative impression of the opposition/ previous governments/ media etc.. However, it is pertinent to mention herein that the same is in violation of Clauses 6(3)(i) and (ii) of the said guidelines, which categorically prohibit the use of public funds, for glorifying any particular person or to target the opposition.
B. Ad campaign (August, 2015)- Woh pareshaan karte rahe, hum kaam karte rahe 
i. That in August, 2015, the GNCTD launched another obnoxious ad campaign titled as “woh pareshaan karte rahe, hum kaam karte rahe”/ they kept troubling us, but we kept working.

 

ii. However, it is important to note that such an Ad campaign falls directly into the teeth of the said guidelines as is evident from the title of the said Ad campaign, the single agenda of such Ads were to target the opposition and glorify the party in power. 
True Copies of some of the Ads published under the above-mentioned Ad campaign are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-13

C. Ads against the Prime Minister/ Opposition
i. Continuing to publish Ads in blatant abuse of the Hon’ble Supreme Court Guidelines, the GNCTD in July, 2015, came out with large scale hoardings and TV Ads to target the Prime Minister of India and other opposition parties.

 

ii. As is evident from the very nature of such advertisements, they do not seek to serve any attendant public interest whatsoever. To the contrary, the said Ads are only a publicity gimmick on the part of the GNCTD, by way of which, the Party in Power seeks promotion/glorification of the Party, as well as, a few select individuals.
A copy of the hoardings of Ads released in July, 2015 against the PM is attached herewith as ANNEXURE-14
A copy of the transcript of the TV ad published against the PM in July, 2015, after an unfortunate stabling incident leading to the death of a young girl is attached herewith as ANNEXURE-15
VI ADS AGAINST THE MEDIA

i. On 21.09.2015, the GNCTD came out with a full page advertisement in all the leading newspapers of Delhi, which is solely aimed at criticizing the Aaj Tak (News Channel) for a story done by it on the issue of onion prices in Delhi.
ii. That on 19.09.2015, Aaj Tak News Channel did a story/ news regarding the high prices of onions in the NCT of Delhi and in the said story, the said news channel had run a news story that the GNCTD purchased onions at a lower price but sold the same at a higher price in the market.
iii. Shockingly, the day after, the GNCTD, in response to the said story by Aaj Tak, came out with an advertisement in all the leading newspapers of the National Capital, wherein the GNCTD has openly criticized and condemned the said news channel for the said story/ news item on “Onion Prices”. Since the said advertisement was published in all the newspapers of the City, it is implied that huge amounts of public funds have been misused by the GNCTD, only for criticizing a news channel for a story/ news ran by it.
It is important to note that all press/ news agencies cover the Government and its activities on a daily basis and in case the Government considers itself aggrieved by any such reports, it is always open to the Government of the day to address the said issue by way of Press Conferences, News bites/clarifications, Public debates, raising the issues in the Assembly/ Parliament etc. Thus, undoubtedly the Government has several ways of addressing such issues, however, instead of adopting any of the said measures in the above situation, the Ruling Party has once again abused its position, by illegally spending huge public funds on publishing the said obnoxious advertisement.
It is stated that the Government Advertisement (Control and Regulation) Guidelines, 2014 lay down that all government advertisement should be aimed at informing the public about matters of public interest or importance. That the Hon’ble Supreme Court has further stipulated that the advertisements must not cast a “negative impression of any person, group or party critical of the government”. However, in complete disregard of the said Guidelines, the GNCTD published the said Advertisement dated 21.09.2015.
That the said act of the GNCTD of shaming news channels/ agencies through full page ads in not only a wastage of public money but the same is also a blatant attempt to patronizing the News Channel & Media Agencies, by illegally using the public exchequer money for such Ads in order to receive favorable coverage from them. Further, the same is strictly forbidden as per the Government Advertisement Guidelines, 2014.
That by publishing the said advertisement, not only has the GNCTD misused the public funds for the benefit of the ruling party, but it has also sought to criticize and curb the freedom of the press in the country. In a democratic society, freedom of the press is of utmost importance as it plays a crucial role of keeping a constant vigil on the Government of the day and also on the liberty of the people. Hence, the press should be allowed to work freely and the Government of the day cannot be allowed to use public funds for carrying out such attacks on the press/ media, by way of advertisements funded by public money. If at all a news item/ story has to be countered, the Government has ample ways of correcting the public discourse. Additionally, even the Press Council of India is empowered to take cognizance of any misinformation spread by the Press. 
A copy of the GNCTD Advertisement dated 21.09.2015 released against Aaj Tak News Channel is attached herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-16
VII ADS MENTIONING THE PARTY IN POWER BY NAME

i. That Clause 6 (3)(iii)(a) of the Government Advertisement Guidelines of the Hon’ble Supreme Court specifically prohibits all Governments (State and Centre) from naming the party in power in Government Advertisements. However despite such clear stipulations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the GNCTD has been mentioning the Aam Aadmi Party/ AAP in all its advertisements. The relevant part of the guidelines (Clause 6(3)(iii)(a)) is reproduced hereinbelow:
“6. THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF CONTENT REGULATION: 
While placing advertisements or purchasing advertising space in any media, the Government shall be guided by the following principles, namely:-
(3) Advertisement materials should be objective and not directed at promoting political interests of ruling party:
(iii) Advertisement materials must not –

(a) Mention the party in government by name; 
A copy of GNCTD Ads mentioning the ruling party by name is attached herewith as ANNEXURE-17
VIII ADS ON ISSUES OUTSIDE THE JURISDICTION OF THE GNCTD

i. In addition to the various illegal Ads being published/ released by the GNCTD, the ruling party in order to make its presence felt on a national platform is also misappropriating large sums of public money to advertise on subjects which do not even fall under the jurisdiction of the GNCTD. Hence, such Ads are nothing but purely political in nature and therefore, the same cannot be allowed to be published on the expense of taxpayer’s money.
ii. For the reference of this august committee, the undersigned is dealing with two of such illegal ads published by GNCTD, which are as under:
a) GNCTD Ad dated 07.10.2015 on Dadri lynching incident 
The GNCTD on 07.10.2015 aired an Ad on Radio and TV on the issue of the lynching incident which took place in Dadri Uttar Pradesh. The said Ad was aired in the voice of the Chief Minister of Delhi and sought to achieve political benefits out of the vulnerable situation that took place in Uttar Pradesh after the unfortunate lynching incident.
Further, the said Ad campaign was nothing but a self-promotional exercise by the CM as the subject matter of the Ad falls outside the jurisdiction of GNCTD. Also, it is imperative to bring to the notice of the Committee that though the CM is free to opine his views on such issues by the way of Press/ Media Statements but cannot be allowed to abuse public funds for Advertisements which do not fall within the domain of the Government.
A copy of the transcript of the Ad dated 07.10.2015 is attached herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-18
b) GNCTD Ad dated 10.03.2016 on Haryana Riots 
Once again, in a shameless exercise to take advantage of the vulnerable situation that had occurred in Haryana due to reservation riots, the Chief Minister of GNCTD published an Ad blaming the Haryana Government and the Congress Party for the riots. In this regard it is once again submitted that if GNCTD is allowed to publish such Ads then the same would not only lead to unrest in the society but also a gross abuse of public wealth for purely political purposes.
A copy of the transcript of the Ad dated 10.03.2016 is attached herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-19
IX UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF ADS TO PATRONIZE SELECT MEDIA HOUSES
i. Apart from the various types of illegal Ads discussed herein-above, it is pertinent to point out that the GNCTD is also indulging in the malpractice of giving Ads only to a select media houses and newspapers in order to receive favourable coverage from them. The same is also evident from the fact that many media houses/ newspapers are completely blacked-out and not given any ads at any occasion whatsoever. Whereas, some selected publications/ news channels are rewarded with heavy advertisement contracts.
ii. In this regard it is pertinent to draw the attention of the committee to Clause 6(3)(v) of the said guidelines and para 10 of the Judgment dated 13.05.2015. The extracts of both the relevant provisions are reproduced hereinbelow, respectively:
“(v) Government advertisements shall not be used at patronizing media houses or aimed at receiving favourable reporting for the party or person in power.”

……
“10. A connected facet of the matter which cannot be ignored is the power of the Government to give/award advertisements to selected media houses and the concomitant issue of freedom of press. Award of advertisements, naturally, brings financial benefit to the particular media house/newspaper group. Patronization of any particular media house(s) must be avoided and award of advertisements must be on an equal basis to all newspapers who may, however, be categorized depending upon their circulation. The D.A.V.P. guidelines do not deal with the said aspect of the matter and hence the necessity of incorporating the same in the present directions to ensure the independence, impartiality and the neutrality of the fourth estate which is vital to the growth and sustenance of democracy will have to be weighed and considered by us.”
iii. In view of the stipulations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and in order to ensure that Government Ads are not used to patronize media houses, the GNCTD shall be directed to equally distribute its Advertisements to all media houses having similar TRP/ circulation. For this purpose, this committee may consider to classify all registered media houses of Delhi in different categories, for example, Category –A,B & C (or any other suitable format), depending upon the reach and circulation of a particular media house. This will ensure that no media house is given preferential treatment by the Government Agencies in order to receive favourable reporting.

FINAL SUBMISSIONS AND PRAYER
1) It is important to bring to the notice of the committee that the contents and design of various illegal advertisements explained above are approved from the highest decision making authority of the GNCTD i.e. the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister. The same is evident from the Office Memorandum of the GNCTD dated 30.03.2015 and 12.01.2016.
Copies of the Office Memorandums dated 30.03.2015 and 12.01.2016 of the GNCTD are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-20
2) That the GNCTD be called upon to furnish the expenditure incurred/ amount approved for the above-mentioned Ads and Ads falling in similar categories/ in violation of the Hon’ble SC Guidelines.
3) That since the GNCTD has indulged into large scale misappropriation of public money on Ads which are in complete violation of the Hon’ble SC Guidelines dated 13.05.2016, therefore, it is imperative that the amount misused be recovered from the ruling party/ its leaders at non-DAVP rates and the same be reimbursed in the corpus of GNCTD for utilisation in public welfare measures.
4) That in view of the powers and functions entrusted upon this Committee by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the GNCTD be specifically banned from publishing:
a) Outstation/ National level Ads;

b) Advertisements published as media reports;

c) False/ Misleading Ads;

d) Large-scale Ads on anniversary of party in power;

e) Ads for self-glorification and to target political parties and the opposition;

f) Ads against the media;

g) Ads mentioning the party in power by name;

h) Ads on issues outside the jurisdiction of the GNCTD;

i) Unequal distribution of Ads to patronize select media houses
5) Taking into account the previous conduct of the GNCTD, the GNCTD be directed to seek prior approval of this august Committee before releasing future Ads;
6) Grant personal hearing to the undersigned regarding the present matter.

Sincerely,

(Ajay Maken)

(Aman Panwar, Adv)
CC: Shri Rajat Sharma, Member, Committee on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements
Shri Piyush Pandey, Member, Committee on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements
Shri N.V. Reddy (ADG, DAVP), Member Secretary, Committee on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements

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