New Delhi: Reliance Jio may end up paying a penalty of just up to Rs 500 for using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph in print and electronic advertisements without permission. The law governing prevention of improper use of emblems and names of 1950 provides for this rather insignificant penalty for violating norms.
On Thursday, minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had said in a written reply that “no permission was granted by prime minister’s office” for using Modi’s photographs in the advertisements. Reliance Jio did not comment on the development.
In response to a question from Samajwadi Party MP Neeraj Shekhar, Rathore had admitted that the government was aware that Reliance Jio used the PM’s photographs in the advertisement.
The opposition had raised serious questions about how the PM’s photograph can be used by a private industry major to advertise its products. They had also questioned the PM’s photographs featuring in advertisements issued by e-wallet ‘Paytm’ after Modi announced the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. Shekhar had sought to know whether there is any law that permits PM from becoming a brand ambassador of a private company and whether PMO has taken any step against the company, if norms have been violated.
Responding to the question Rathore said, The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act is administered by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution. Ministry officials said they had received no complaints regarding such misuse. “We will take necessary steps since there is a violation of the law,” an official said.
According to section-3 of the Act, no person shall use any “specified” name or emblem for the purpose of any trade, business or any such activities without the “previous permission of the central government” or officers authorised by the government.
The list of nearly three dozens names and emblems that cannot be used without prior permission of government includes President of India, Prime Minister, governor of a state, Government of India or any state, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, United Nations Organisation, Ashok Chakra or Dharma Chakra.