Reliance Jio may be fined Rs 500 for carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo in its much-publicised full page advertisements earlier in September this year.
This after the government made it clear that the telecom giant had not obtained any permission to carry Modi’s photo from the Prime Minister’s Office.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha to a question by Samajwadi Party’s Neeraj Shekhar, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also admitted that it was aware that Reliance Jio used the Prime Minister’s photographs in the advertisement.
“Yes sir, the government was aware,” said Rathore, adding that no permission was granted by PMO.
Rathore, according to IANS news agency, said that the necessary act, the Emblems and Names (prevention of improper use) Act 1950, is administered by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
The said Act bars an individual or company from the improper usage of emblems and names for professional and commercial purposes.
The said Act states, “No person shall, except in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government, use, or continue to use, for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design, any name or emblem specified in the Schedule or any colourable imitation thereof without the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government as may be authorised in this behalf by the Central Government.”
The Act further adds, “Any person who contravenes the provisions of Section 3 shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.”
Reliance wasn’t alone in using Modi’s photo for its ad campaign. A day after the prime minister announced banning of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Paytm too had launched a massive ad campaign in newspapers with all its ads bearing Modi’s image.
It’s not clear if similar action is being planned against Paytm too.