PM’s photo in ad sets off debate in Twitter

The Delhi Chief Minister's jibe came on a day the Mukesh Ambani-led group splashed advertisements featuring the face of the Prime Minister across newspapers.

September 02, 2016 03:24 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:45 am IST - New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this file photo.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this file photo.

On Friday, when the photograph of a smiling Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared on full-page advertisements of Reliance Jio in leading national dailies, it not only raised questions about the propriety of linking a constitutional figure with a commercial venture but also led to a Twitter storm.

Jio is a dedication to that Digital India dream of the Prime Minister, his vision for the 1.2 billion people of the country, the advertisement said, promptly leading many to question the connection between Reliance and the Prime Minister’s photograph. Some even wondered whether the Prime Minister was the brand ambassador of Reliance Jio.

Spearheading the attack was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who tweeted with two words: PM as Mr Reliance. This soon gave way to a full frontal attack. A tweet went out from @ArvindKejriwal in Hindi. Translated in English it read as follows: Modi ji, continue modelling for Reliance. The labour will teach you a lesson in 2019.

Later in the evening, the Congress sharpened its attack. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken asked whether prior permission of the Prime Minister had been sought. Mr. Maken recalled how when he was the Minister in the UPA Cabinet, he had to seek the permission of the PMO to publish former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s photograph.

To prevent improper use

The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 was enacted to prevent the improper use of certain emblems and names for professional and commercial purposes.

Clause 3 of the Act states: “Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no person shall, except in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government use, or continue to use, for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design, any name or emblem specified in the Schedule… without the previous permission of the Central Government…” The Schedule includes the “name or pictorial representation” of the Prime Minister as part of it.

The Hindu e-mailed a questionnaire to RIL, but no response was received.

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