Use photos of President, PM Modi in advertisements for Chess Olympiad: Madras HC

One day after BJP workers pasted photographs of PM Narendra Modi on 44th Chess Olympiad billboards in Chennai saying they only featured Chief Minister MK Stalin, Madras High Court on Thursday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that photographs of the President and the Prime Minister be published in all printed and printed Chess Olympiad advertisements. ELECTRONIC media.

Rejecting the state government’s claim that the president’s photo was not released because the presidential election was not over and the prime minister’s because his office’s consent came late, the bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice S Ananthi said “the interest of the nation should be (of) paramount importance in the mind of every citizen”.

“Organized international events portray the image of the country in international forums. It not only shows the development of the country, but its ability to organize an international event in such a short time…every government should work, including the state government…When our country hosts such an international event, it is the imperative duty of one and all to ensure that this function is organized efficiently and that we leave an indelible mark internationally,” he said.

The bench ordered the district administration to ‘ensure that no damage or destruction be caused to any of the published advertisements containing the photographs of the Honorable Speaker and the Prime Minister, except the Chief Minister , and if such activities are reported, strict measures must be taken against such personnel”.

Amar Prasad Reddy, chairman of the Tamil Nadu BJP’s Sports and Skills Development Unit, released a video clip of him staring at pictures of Modi on billboards, along with two others. He posted the clip on his Twitter account. (Twitter/@AmarReddy)

Petitioner R Rajesh Kumar from Sivaganga District had urged the court to declare the use of the Chief Minister’s sole photograph in the ‘advertisement/promotion’ of the Chess Olympiad as ‘unlawful, arbitrary and in breach of instructions of the Supreme Court in Common Cause v. Union of India (2015) and State of Karnataka v. Common Cause (2016) which ordered the publication of photographs of the President and Prime Minister.

His plea was that the state government was disregarding the Supreme Court order because an international event could not be an event of the state hosting it. He said it was “an official function at an international level, organized with public money”.

The attorney general and government counsel argued that the state government never intended to exclude the publication of photographs of the president or prime minister in advertisements. They argued that they could not include the president’s photograph because the presidential election was not over as the state government prepared the ground for hosting the Chess Olympiad as well as the preparing advertisements.

Vehicles drive on the Napier Bridge, painted in black and white checkerboard, ahead of the 44th International Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram near Chennai on July 16, 2022. (PTI)

The state government said it had no intention of flouting the Supreme Court’s guidelines and there was no ill intent behind the non-publication and urged the court to grant the motion” unsuccessful” and reject it.

The bench said the state’s submission of the presidential election not being concluded as the reason for the omission cannot be accepted “because the advertisements were published even after the declaration of the presidential election result without the photograph of the Honorable President of India.”

She also rejected the state’s argument that the non-publication of the prime minister’s photograph was due to the late receipt of consent from his cabinet. “The photograph of the Prime Minister had to be published even if he could not have inaugurated the event. What should be noted here is that despite the session of Parliament, the Prime Minister decided to inaugurate the ceremony, given the importance of the event at the international level,” he said. .

Citing the Supreme Court order, the bench said that “it should be ensured that whether or not dignitaries like the Honorable President or Prime Minister of India accept the invitation to an international event, the advertisements must contain their photographs, as much as they represent the country internationally.

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