The Supreme Court has ordered the Rajasthan government to release government advertisements to the Rajasthan Patrika newspaper. A bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and DY Chandrachud issued a verbal order to this effect on Friday.
Appearing on behalf of Rajasthan Patrika, senior advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi stated that the government was violating its own policy and was not releasing any advertisement on the back of certain news articles that were published in December 2015. Dr. Singhvi, arguing the matter before the Court categorically stated that the denial of advertisements to a newspaper with such a large circulation amounted to curtailment of freedom of press.
Additional solicitor general, P.S. Narasimha, on behalf of the state government submitted that the curtailment in advertisement was for keeping a balance in the release of advertisements to various newspapers though the apex court refused to accept it. The court also noted that from January, 2016 to till date, Rajasthan Patrika was not being released any advertisement in spite of its entitlement according to circulation and readership.
Narsimha accepted that the government has not released any advertisement to Rajasthan Patrika since the start of 2016, but were ready to renew advertisements in the next four weeks. On this verbal undertaking by P.S. Narasimha, the court has allowed four weeks time to the State Government to prove the same by their conduct. However, the Court also stated that in case advertisements were not released then the petitioners could approach the Court even in 7-10 days.