Acting on Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin’s recommendations, President Pranab Mukherjee has directed the Delhi government’s Department of Welfare for SC/ST/OBC and Minority Community “to be careful” in publicising their policies.
The advisory comes after Justice Sarin in May this year recommended to the President that an advisory be issued to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan asking them to desist from putting their photographs on application forms offering loan at low rates under the ‘Dilli Swarojgar Yojna’.
Mukherjee also asked the Delhi government to frame guidelines to govern such advertisements.
On receiving the recommendation from Justice Sarin, the President had referred the issue to the Home Ministry to take appropriate action. In a letter to the Delhi Lokayukta, the Home Ministry conveyed Mukherjee’s directions.
The Home Ministry wrote “it was found that Department of Welfare of SC/ST/OBC/minority and Delhi SC/ST/OBC/ Minority Finance and Development Corporation need not print photographs of the CM and the minister on loan application forms as the practise does not benefit the prospective loanee in any manner”.
In May, after receiving a complaint from BJP MLA Harsh Vardhan, Justice Sarin had recommended that Dikshit and Chauhan ‘desist’ from publishing their photographs on the application forms, block or efface their photographs on all existing forms and frame guidelines “for issuance of advertisements, hoardings etc., featuring photographs of public functionaries”.
During the course of the hearing, the Lokayukta had observed that the decision to print the photographs on the loan forms were taken by Chauhan and approved by Dikshit.
BJP MLA Harsh Vardhan said, “The printing of photographs was intended to get an edge in the forthcoming Assembly elections by forming an image in the minds of the electors.”
He said he had also filed a complaint against Dikshit for misleading voters under the pretext of regularising unauthorised colonies by issuing provisional certificates in the run-up to the 2008 assembly elections.