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Ads extolling Kejriwal’s virtues can air for now: HC

The Arvind Kejriwal government is free to air its TV and radio ads for now despite criticism by Opposition parties. The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to stop the campaign, on a petition which alleged the waste of public funds to glorify the Chief Minister and AAP.

The court, however, had tough questions for the Centre.

“What steps have you taken to follow the Supreme Court’s directive on political advertisements?” the Delhi high court questioned the Central government.

The court asked whether any committee had been set up to keep a watch on political ads, as the Supreme Court had directed. When the Centre complained that it was also being targeted by the Kejriwal ads, the court said: “First tell us what steps you have taken then we will look into it.”

Congress leader Ajay Maken had filed a petition against the Delhi government, alleging that it had splurged public money on ads that are “politically motivated”. The case will be taken up next on July 27.

In May, the Supreme Court had ruled that government ads can feature pictures of only the Prime Minister, the President, and the Chief Justice of India. The ruling meant that Chief Ministers and Governors cannot feature in government ads.

“Photos have the potential of developing personality cult,” the top court had reasoned.

The court also said that a three-member committee must ensure that the new guidelines are not violated. “Advertisement materials should be objective and not directed at promoting political interests of ruling party,” the judges said. 
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