A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that substantive guidelines are needed to regulate such advertisements at the cost of public exchequer and constituted a four-member committee comprising former Director of National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, N R Madhava Menon, former Lok Sabha Secretary T K Viswanathan, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and the Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The Apex Court asked the committee to submit its report within three months.

The Supreme Court passed the order on a PIL filed by NGOs, Common Cause and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) pleading it to frame guidelines.

The petition has sought issuance of guidelines for curbing ruling parties from taking political mileage by projecting their leaders in official advertisements.

The counsel, appearing for Common Cause, had earlier said that the glorification of politicians linked to the ruling establishment, in order to attain political mileage at the cost of public exchequer, was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The counsel, representing CPIL, had told the court that there was nothing wrong in issuing advertisements and informing the public about the programmes of the government.

However, the court had said such advertisement campaigns become arbitrary and malafide when aimed at gaining political mileage.

(JPN/Agencies)

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