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Stricter penalty for misuse of PM, President pics

Penalty of Rs 1 lakh may sooner be imposed upon usage of photographs of Prime Minister or President for promotion of business and repeating the offence shall be further penalized amounting Rs 5 lakhs. The penalty for improper usage of national emb...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 13, 2019, 11.08 AM IST
New Delhi: Improper or unauthorised use of photograph of Prime Minister or President for promotion of trade and business may soon attract fine of Rs 1 lakh and repeat offence Rs 5 lakh and up to six months jail.

Currently, the penalty for such offences including the improper use of national emblems such as the National Flag, Ashok Chakra, official seal of Parliament, Supreme Court etc is merely Rs 500 and there is no provision for higher fine for repeat offence.

The consumer affairs ministry has proposed these changes in the Emblem and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act. The current provision of meagre penalties for misuse of the emblems and names had hit the headlines after Paytm and Reliance Jio had used PM Narendra Modi’s photograph in their advertisements.

Both the companies had tendered unconditional apologies for using the PM’s photograph.

In September 2016, Reliance Jio had given advertisements in all the leading newspapers having Modi’s photo to dedicate its 4G service to the government’s flagship Digital India programme.

Similarly, on November 9, Paytm had welcomed the demonetisation decision through an advertisement with Prime Minister’s photograph and had urged people to start using its digital wallet service.

The proposed changes also put the onus on the defendant to prove that the any contravention or alteration was authorised by a competent authority. The changes will be made through Rules after considering the suggestions and objections, sources said.

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