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SC ruling on political ads today

13-April-2004
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SC ruling on political ads today

Attorney general Soli J Sorabjee on Monday submitted before a Supreme Court bench that a mechanism to monitor the contents of political advertisements was needed to check the telecast of offensive and slanderous advertisements. Such a mechanism would restrict the television channels from telecasting such commercials, he said.

The final hearing on this by the Supreme Court will be held on Tuesday. The apex court, however, observed that either the Election Commission (EC) or the government would have to undertake the monitoring exercise. Mr Sorabjee before a bench of Chief Justice VN Khare, justice SB Sinha and justice SH Kapadia said that a ban on offensive and slanderous advertisement was much needed.

EC had earlier asked the ministry of information and broadcasting to take appropriate steps against the advertisements which are slanderous in nature and violating the advertisement code. The Congress had lodged a complaint against a “slanderous” advertisement on TV channels. The commercial raised the issue of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin.

That apart, the court had also sought the response of EC on the issue of whether or not the money spent on ads by various political parties and candidates for the election could be included in the poll expenses, which has been limited to Rs 25 lakh per LS constituency and Rs 10 lakh for Assembly seats.

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