Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio could be fined just Rs 500 for using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph in print and electronic advertisements without permission, various media reports said, citing the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.
Earlier this week, the minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, while replying Samajwadi Party MP Neeraj Shekhar’s question, said that “no permission was granted by prime minister’s office” for using Modi’s photographs in the advertisements.
Rathore admitted that the government was aware that use of thhe PM’s photographs in Jio’s advertisement.
Jio’s front-page newspaper advertisements had stirred a controversy with the opposition parties raising question about the legitimacy of the ad.
The Samajwadi Party MP had reportedly sought information 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.
“We will take necessary steps since there is a violation of the law,” an official was quoted as saying by the Times of India. The official said that the Ministry had received no complaints regarding such misuse. Notably, mobile wallet major PayTM also used PM Modi’s picture in advertisements issued just after the demonetization announcement.
As per the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, “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 imitation thereof without the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government as may be authorized in this behalf by the Central Government.