हाईकोर्ट ने कहा- ‘भारत निर्माण’ विज्ञापन पर खर्च जनहित का मुद्दा नहीं

लखनऊ : इलाहाबाद हाई कोर्ट की लखनऊ बेंच ने पूर्व में सुरक्षित आदेश आज सुनाते हुए कहा कि उन्हें नहीं लगता कि सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता डॉ नूतन ठाकुर द्वारा भारत निर्माण विज्ञापन के खिलाफ की गयी प्रार्थना स्वीकृत करने से किसी प्रकार का जनहित होगा. न्यायाधीशगण इम्तियाज़ मुर्तजा और डी के उपाध्याय की बेंच ने कहा कि हाई कोर्ट पूर्व में ही भारत सरकार के विज्ञापन प्रकाशित किये जाने विषयक अधिकार को अशोक पाण्डेय बनाम भारत सरकार मामले में इस बाध्यता के साथ स्वीकार कर चुका है कि वह किसी संवैधानिक अथवा विधिक प्रावधानों के विपरीत ना हो.

कोर्ट ने डॉ ठाकुर द्वारा किसी संवैधानिक पद से अलग किसी राजनैतिक गठबंधन के प्रमुख को इस योग्य मान कर उनके नेतृत्व को स्वीकार करते हुए उनकी तस्वीर सरकारी विज्ञापनों में लगाए जाने के सम्बन्ध में प्रस्तुत ऐतराज़ पर यह कहते हुए टिप्पणी करने से इनकार कर दिया कि यह मात्र वादिनी की टिप्पणी या व्यक्तिगत विचार हैं.  पीआईएल में कहा गया था कि इन विज्ञापनों में जनता के लिए कोई उपयोगी अथवा आवश्यक जानकारी नहीं दी जा रही है और ये स्पष्टतया आत्मप्रशंसा से लबरेज विज्ञापन हैं जिसमे यूपीए सरकार के पिछले नौ वर्षों के कार्यकाल का गुणगान किया गया है और जो मौजूदा सत्ताधारी पार्टी के राजनैतिक एजेंडा को पूर्ण करती दिखती है, जिसके लिए राजकीय धन से खर्च की अनुमति नहीं दी जा सकती. साथ ही यह भी प्रार्थना की गयी थी कि इन विज्ञापनों में सोनिया गाँधी को यूपीए अध्यक्ष के रूप में प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह के समकक्ष दिखाया जाना अनुचित, भेदभावकारी और गलत है क्योंकि जहां प्रधानमंत्री एक संवैधानिक पद धारण करते हैं वहीँ यूपीए अध्यक्ष पद का कोई संवैधानिक अथवा प्रशासनिक महत्व नहीं है.

संलग्न- हाई कोर्ट आदेश की प्रति

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD, LUCKNOW BENCH

Reserved

Case :- MISC. BENCH No. – 1137 of 2014

Petitioner :- Nutan Thakur [ P.I.L.]
Respondent :- Union Of India Thro.Cabinat Secy.Govt.Of India N.Delhi & Anr
Counsel for Petitioner :- Dr.Nutan Thakur[Inperson]
Counsel for Respondent :- A.S.G.

Hon'ble Imtiyaz Murtaza,J.
Hon'ble Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya,J.
Heard the petitioner, who addressed the Court in person and Sri Asit Kumar Chaturvedi, who has put in his appearance on behalf of respondents.
This petition draped as a Public Interest Litigation has been filed with the following prayers:-
"1.Issue a writ of mandamus directing the concerned respondents to refrain from publishing such government advertisements (as presented in Annexure No.2 or otherwise) which do not present any pertinent, useful and relevant facts/information before the people but are very apparently self-publicity material of and for the people in power occupying public post/positions, which can very easily and clearly be understood as the waste and misuse of public money for selfish and self-oriented goals of individuals and political entities.
2. Issue a writ of mandamus directing the concerned respondents for restricting the respondents from publishing any kind of sycophantic advertisement (as presented in Annexure No.2 or otherwise) published solely for publishing and glorifying the alleged achievements of the Union government with one or more individuals kept in mind.
3. Issue a writ of mandamus directing the concerned respondents not to publicize the photographs and activities of such persons, with specific reference to political entities, who are not occupying any definite executive/constitutional posts, juxtaposed to the photographs of the Prime Minister of India, other Ministers of the Union government and other constitutional functionaries in such a manner as to give a clearly visible indication and impression that the Chairman/ President of these political parties/entities stand equivalent in status and dignity to the constitutional authorities."
The issue raised in this petition had earlier engaged attention of this Court in another writ petition filed purportedly in public interest i.e. Writ Petition No.7444 (M/B) of 2013, Asok Pande vs Union of India and others which was dismissed by this Court by means of order dated 23.08.2013. The said order dated 23.08.2013 has been annexed by the petitioner herself as annexure no.1 to the writ petition.
From a perusal of the order dated 23.08.2013 dismissing the aforementioned writ petition, it is apparent that prayer made in the said writ petition was to issue a mandamus directing the Cabinet Secretary and Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India to prohibit all the departments and public sector undertakings from publishing photographs of political leaders who are not holding any government office and that such prohibition should also cover photographs of Ms. Sonia Gandhi for the reason that she does not hold any post in the Union of India but is actually the Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in various advertisements which are published by different departments in the newspapers, television or elsewhere from time to time.
Submission of learned counsel appearing for Union of India is that the legal issue sought to be raised in this petition stands settled by the aforesaid order of this Court dated 23.08.2013 wherein it has been observed that it is within the powers of the Union of India to take appropriate executive decisions and the only limitation on such powers is that the decisions must not run in conflict with constitutional or statutory provisions prohibiting the respondents from deciding the contents of publicity material.
Based on the aforesaid order, learned counsel for the respondents has argued that the instant writ petition is liable to be dismissed at its very threshold. It has also been argued by Sri Chaturvedi that looking into the prayers made in Writ Petition No. 7444 (M/B) of 2013 and the order of this Court dated 23.08.2013 passed in the said writ petition, it cannot be said that petitioner in this writ petition in any manner seeks to promote public interest. He has also stated that in view of the aforesaid judgement dated 23.08.2013 passed in Writ Petition No. 7444 (M/B) of 2013 nothing needs to be decided in this case.
We have heard the petitioner, Dr. Nutan Thakur in person and learned counsel for the respondents.
Dealing with the issue similar to the issue raised in this petition, this Court by means of order dated 23.08.2013 while dismissing the writ petition no. 7444 (M/B) of 2013 has clearly upheld the powers of Union of India to take appropriate executive decisions with the only limitation that such decisions must not run contrary to any constitutional or statutory provisions which prohibit the Government from deciding the contents of publicity material. The relevant portion of the aforesaid judgement dated 23.08.2013 dealing with this issue is being quoted below:-
"So far as the legal issue as to whether any law is required to permit the Union of India to issue such advertisements which have been objected to by the petitioner, we are in respectful agreement with the submissions made on behalf of the Union of India that it is within the powers of the Union of India to take appropriate executive decisions and the only limitation on such powers is that the decisions must not run counter to any constitutional or statutory provisions which prohibit the respondents from deciding the contents of publicity material or to include as an acceptable and established practice the photographs of some leaders whose guidance and leadership are considered fit to be acknowledged."

We may also notice that in paragraph 64 of the writ petition it has been stated by the petitioner that the question decided by this Court in Writ Petition No. 7444 (M/B) of 2013 was that there is an acceptable and established practice to include the photographs of some leaders whose guidance and leadership are considered fit to be acknowledged. However, the question whether photographs of political leaders who do not occupy the constitutional authorities and are mere political entities or heads of political entities can be regarded as being fit to be acknowledged as person whose guidance and leadership is there in the Government, remains unanswered.
The averments made in para 64 of the writ petition are nothing but a comment or at the most an expression of views held by an individual i.e. the petitioner. Admittedly the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot be permitted to be invoked for the purposes of enforcement of personal views on a subject.
The interference by this Court in any executive decision is permissible only if the person bringing cause to this Court is able to demonstrate violation of any constitutional or statutory provisions.
Apart from above, we may also observe that this Court, dealing with the issue relating to publication of photographs of political leaders who are not holding any government office, in Writ Petition No. 7444 (M/B) of 2013 by means of order dated 23.08.2013 not only refused to entertain the alleged public cause but also observed that in a public interest litigation, the petitioner is required to show that the prayer made, if granted, shall promote public interest. The relevant portion of the aforesaid judgement dated 23.08.2013 passed by this Court is being quoted below:-
"Ultimately, in a public interest litigation, the petitioner is required to show that the prayer, which he is seeking, shall promote public interest. It is very difficult for the Court, considering the set of facts and controversial issues, to come to any final conclusion that the petitioner's prayer, if granted, shall promote public interest. Functioning of a democracy in a healthy and vibrant manner requires establishment of healthy practices and conventions. All such matters cannot be governed by statutory law. For example, one can see the functioning of Government of United Kingdom. England has no written constitution but its system is known to be mother of all democracies. It is the responsibility of those in power to establish healthy practices and conventions which can alone be the root of democracy in this country, which has achieved independence recently. It would not be proper for this Court to interfere in such matters of policy."
Looking into the averments made in this writ petition and the prayer clause thereof, we are of the considered opinion that in view of the order dated 23.08.2013 passed by this Court in aforesaid writ petition, in this case also it is very difficult for the Court to come to any final conclusion that the petitioner's prayer, if granted, shall promote any public interest.
In view of discussions made and reasons given above, we do not find it to be a fit case for interference invoking jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
Accordingly, the writ petition is hereby dismissed.
However, there will be no order as to costs.
Order Date :- February 19 , 2014
Renu/-

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