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Fresh face-off between Delhi govt and Centre over advertisement spending

The Delhi government has moved the apex court against Centre’s move to regulate state advertisement through its own panel.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2017 08:07 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP government,Supreme Court,Aam Aadmi Party
A view of the Supreme Court against an overcast sky.(Sonu Mehta/ HT File Photo)

The AAP government in Delhi has moved the Supreme Court against Centre’s move to regulate state advertisement through its own panel. It has said the three-member committee, formed pursuant to an SC order laying down guidelines regulating the content of government advertisements, does not have territorial jurisdiction over Delhi.

The Central government panel last September held the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had violated the guidelines and exploited the exchequer’s fund to promote Arvind Kejriwal and his party. It had ordered the party to refund the money state had spent on the ads.

The fresh face-off between the two sides comes at a time when the top court is already seized of petitions, challenging the Delhi High Court order declaring the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of the Capital. The matter has been referred to a larger bench.

According to Delhi government, the Centre had constituted the committee in April 2016, also empowering it to have a control over the Capital. However, in May a letter was sent to the state, asking it to set-up its own committee.

Three months later, the Centre withdrew its May communiqué and revived the April order for regulating Delhi government ads. As a result, the LG set aside in September Delhi’s notification to constitute its own three-member committee.

Further, it also adjudicated Congress leader Ajay Maken’s complaint, alleging misuse of state funds by AAP for party gains, which Delhi government said the panel was not authorized to act upon.

The Delhi government argued that the panel “fell grossly short of the standard specified by the SC of unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality and did not possess a neutral background”.

Two of its members were drawing financial benefits from the government, the AAP government’s petition alleged.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 08:06 IST