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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Guj govt's ads may undermine 'territorial integrity': PIL

PTI  Ahmedabad, August 30, 2012
First Published: 22:14 IST(30/8/2012) | Last Updated: 22:15 IST(30/8/2012)

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Gujarat high court has demanded ban on a state-sponsored advertisement targetting the Centre, saying that it poses danger to "territorial integrity" of the country.

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The high court, however, seemed not to agree, though the arguments are yet to come to a close.

Janaksinh Parmar, a city resident, has opposed a commercial aired on Gujarati TV channels, and related advertisements in newspapers and on FM radio.

The advertisements claim injustice by the Centre in allocating natural gas at higher prices to Gujarat, in comparison to Delhi and Mumbai.

The advertisements, which portray the alleged injustice as a 'slap' to the state, came just as assembly elections campaign was gathering momentum.

Recently, Gujarat high court directed the Central government to allocate gas under Administered Price Mechanism to Ahmedabad city at the same price as New Delhi and Mumbai.

But, the PIL asks, "whether the state government can display an advertisement on the regional language TV channels which amounts to an unlawful activity intended to disrupt sovereignty and territorial integrity of India."

In the court on Thursday, after petitioner's lawyer BB Nayak made primary arguments, Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya indicated his disagreement.

"We think our federal structure gives enough liberty and space to every state to express their anger or dissatisfaction towards any of the actions taken by Central government," the Chief Justice said.

"If a state is using the mode of advertisements to show its dissatisfaction, in my opinion, there is nothing illegal about it."

The hearing was adjourned for a week after the bench asked the petitioner to produce Supreme Court judgements in support of his case.


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