Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, Paytm apologise for using PM Narendra Modi’s picture in their ads without permission

By: | Updated: March 10, 2017 5:05 PM

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm and Paytm on Friday tendered apologies for using Prime Minister Narendra Modi's picture in their advertisements without permission.

. Last month, the government slapped notices on both the companies for doing the same.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm and Paytm on Friday tendered apologies for using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture in their advertisements without permission. Last month, the government slapped notices on both the companies for doing the same. The ministry of consumer affairs, which is the custodian of the prestige of high offices like president and prime minister as well as historic figures, sent the notices under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act of 1950, which bars use of prime minister’s name and picture for commercial use.

The Act provides for a nominal financial penalty for violations but more than the monetary fine holding guilty of for improper use of prime minister’s name has ramification on the company’s image. In September last year, Reliance Jio had through its ads, dedicated the Reliance Jio 4G service to the Modi government’s flagship Digital India project. Full-page “Reliance Jio: Digital Life” jacket advertisements were published with a photograph of the prime minister, dressed in a blue jacket, triggering a political controversy.

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After the government announced the demonetisation decision on 8 November, Paytm issued an advertisement welcoming the move as it boosted use of e-wallets likes the one it markets. Officials said while Reliance Jio may have taken verbal approval of the prime minister’s office before using Modi’s picture, there is no written permission.

(With inputs from PTI)

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