The Delhi High Court has asked a three-member committee appointed on the Supreme Court’s direction to examine within six weeks the charge of diversion of public funds on advertisements by the AAP government.
“The complaint dated May 10, 2016 of the petitioner (Ajay Maken) shall be considered and decided by the three-member committee constituted by the Government of India on April 6, 2016 in accordance with the guidelines as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of six weeks from today,” a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said.
The court order came on four PILs, including one by Maken, alleging that the Delhi government has been violating guidelines by giving politically motivated advertisements in newspapers, television and radio for promoting its Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in power and has been indulging in unwanted and unethical expenses by diverting public funds towards promotion of the ruling party and its leaders.
While disposing of Maken’s plea, the bench made it clear that other petitioners can also file a complaint before the committee, “in which event the same shall also be considered in terms of the guidelines”.
The court asked the committee to decide the issue after Maken’s counsel Aman Panwar submitted that only the state governments can appoint their own committee, whereas the advertisements of Union territories will have to be regulated by the committee of the central government.
Maken, chief of Congress’ unit in Delhi, has also sought a direction to restrain the Delhi government from publishing the name of the Delhi chief minister in any of its current or future advertisements, that are allegedly in violation of the government Advertisement Guidelines, 2014.