Centre suggests three-member ombudsman for regulating ads

  • Smriti Kak Ramachandran, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 02, 2016 15:26 IST

Acting on the Supreme Court’s instruction to set up a three-member ombudsman for regulating advertisements given by various governments and authorities, the Centre on Thursday suggested the composition of the regulating authority, which will now be put forth before the apex court.

According to sources, a selection committee headed by the Press Council of India chairperson that met on Thursday has suggested including a retired judge, an expert from the advertising sector and a journalist to be the three- member ombudsman.

“No names have so far been proposed, but the composition will now be laid before the Supreme Court, which had recently sought the Centre’s response on whether the ombudsman to regulate advertisements has been selected,” a source told HT.

The court’s notice to the centre had come in the wake of the petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu for flouting the court’s orders on public advertisements.

In May 2015, the Supreme Court had barred the centre and the state governments from putting out advertisements in publications with the photographs of chief ministers, ministers and other leaders; it had allowed the exception of President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. The court had reasoned that publication of photographs of politicians and government functionaries, encouraged “personality cults.”

This past March, the court agreed to allow the use of photographs of governors, chief ministers and ministers in government advertisements.

The apex court had however, specified that the government should constitute a three-member body consisting of “persons with unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality and who have excelled in their respective fields”.

The court had said it could have suggested the names for the ombudsman, but will leave the exercise to be performed by the Centre. The ombudsman will be required to recommend suitable changes to the guidelines of the court to deal with new circumstances and situations, as per the court’s order.

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