A Central government appointed Committee today came down heavily on AAP government in Delhi, saying it had splurging exchequer’s money on advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party in violation of Supreme Court guidelines and asked the ruling party to reimburse it.
The three-member committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, had been constituted by the I&B ministry on directions of Supreme Court to address issues related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising.
The committee had received a complaint from Congress leader Ajay Maken accusing the AAP government in Delhi of splurging public money on advertisements.
In its order issued today, “the Committee came to the conclusion that the Government of NCT of Delhi has violated guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in six of the nine areas listed by the complainant”.
The violations include “outstation advertisements, false/misleading advertisements, advertisements for self- glorification and to target political opponents, advertisements against media, advertisements mentioning the party in power by name and also advertisements issued on incidents occurring in other states.”
In its order, the panel which also comprised adman Piyush Pandey and journalist Rajat Sharma, has said that AAP should be made to reimburse the expenditure since the violation of the Supreme Court order of May 13, 2015, has taken place.
The assessment of the expenditure should be made by the Delhi government, it said.
The panel has directed Government of NCT of Delhi to assess expenditure incurred by it in issuing advertisements outside the territory of Delhi on the occasion of various anniversaries (except those tender or appointment advertisements which are outside the purview of the Supreme Court laid guidelines in a judgement delivered in May 2015).
It has also directed that the Delhi government assess expenditure on those advertisements or advertorials in which the name of Aam Admi Party is mentioned, which publicized the views of the Chief Minister on incidents that took place in other States, and advertisements which targeted the opposition.
“The Committee further directs the Government of NCT of Delhi to get the entire expenditure so incurred on the above mentioned category of advertisements reimbursed to the State exchequer from the Aam Admi Party,” the order of the Committee on Content Regulation of government advertisements has held.