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The Delhi High Court is tightening the screws on Arvind Kejriwal’s advertisement campaign. These ads had highlighted the work done by Kejriwal and his government for the people of Delhi.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath today sought a detailed report from the Delhi Government regarding the amount of money that was spent on advertisements published by the Kejriwal-led government. The Court wanted a specific estimate on the money spent on ads, post the Supreme Court judgment of 2014.
The Court was hearing a PIL filed by Ajay Maken who had stated in his plea that the Delhi Government had published these ads, in order to glorify Kejriwal and thereby violated the Government Advertisements (Content Regulations) Guidelines 2014 “with impunity”.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh and advocate Aman Panwar appeared for Maken. Singh provided printouts of the various ads to the Court, arguing that these ads were published in various other parts of the country such as Chennai and Bombay. He stated that the expenditure towards these ads stood at a staggering 520 crore which translated to 1.8 crore per day.
Singh also directed the attention of the Bench to an order passed by the Patna High Court that barred the Bihar Government from using pictures of its CM Nitish Kumar in his campaign.
The Union, on the other hand, submitted that steps to set up a Committee (for implementing the 2014 Guidelines) had been set in motion. However, the eventual formation of the Committee would take some time.
The Standing Counsel for Delhi, Raman Duggal, submitted that the ads and hoardings that were allegedly glorifying Kejriwal, had already been removed to which the Bench remarked that ‘a detailed examination was required of the expenses’ that were incurred in publishing these ads.
After hearing the submissions and directing the report to be filed by the Delhi Government before Monday, the Bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 3.