Supreme Court-mandated committee on content regulation in government advertising issued a notice to the Delhi government on Monday over a front page advertisement that was published in multiple newspapers across editions on July 16, publicising performance of Delhi government schools in Class 12 board exams.
The committee has sought an explanation from the Delhi government within 60 days, explaining how this advertisement does not violate the Supreme Court guidelines of avoiding glorification of political personalities.
Publicising govt. schools
The front page advertisement highlighted the fact that 98% students studying in Delhi government schools passed Class 12 board exams compared to private schools which scored 92%. The advertisement also carries a photograph and quote of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Suo moto cognisance
A press note from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that the committee had taken suo moto cognisance of the points raised in the social media on the Delhi government advertisement.
“Questions had been raised on the necessity of the Delhi government to issue advertisements in Mumbai newspapers and had pointed that the purpose of the advertisement was only for political messaging,” the press notes says.
On May 13, 2015, in guidelines set out by the Supreme Court, it was clarified that the “content of government advertisements should be relevant to the governments’ constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizens’ rights and entitlement”.
The committee has posed four questions to the Delhi government. It has sought the cost to exchequer on publishing this advertisement, its purpose, especially since it’s published in newspapers outside Delhi too, and also the number of publications that the advertisement was carried in.