On 23rd April, 2014, the Supreme Court in Common Cause Vs. Union of India (civil writ petition no.197 of 2004), had delivered a judgement saying that there is a need to distinguish between the advertisements that are part of government messaging and advertisements that are politically motivated designed to patronise media organisations and get favourable media coverage. The court found that the existing policy / guidelines do not govern the issues raised and do not lay down a criterion for the advertisements to qualify for public purpose as opposed to partisan ends and political mileage.
The Ministry of I & B convened the first meeting of the Committee to prepare guidelines for government advertisements as per the directions of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in the landmark judgement had directed the Ministry of I& B to convene a Committee for the same. The Committee includes ProfessorMadhavMenon, Ranjit Kumar, Senior Advocate, former Secretary General LokSabha, T.K. Vishwanathan and Secretary, I&B as Member Secretary.
The committee after deliberations desired that the views of the stake holders such as client ministries, state governments, recognised political parties and citizens should be taken into account at the earliest. The website of I&B Ministry will be one of the conduits for inviting such suggestions. The committee is scheduled to submit draft guidelines to the Supreme Court in three months.