Hunting For Permission Details Tedious, PM Office's Response To RTI Query

The PMO was asked to give details of permissions sought by companies, trusts and individuals for using the prime minister's photographs

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Hunting For Permission Details Tedious, PM Office's Response To RTI Query

Reliance Jio and Paytm later apologised for using PM Modi's photographs.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Can't tell who sought permission for using PM Modi's pictures, PMO said
  2. It said the exercise would 'disproportionately' divert its resources
  3. It added no record of permission sought by Reliance Jio and Paytm
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has refused to divulge details on who sought permission to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photographs in advertisements saying that it would need a "thorough search". Replying to a Right to Information (RTI) query that sought the details, it said the exercise would also "disproportionately" divert its resources because the information was not available in a "consolidated" form.

The PMO was asked to give details of permissions sought by companies, trusts and individuals for using the prime minister's photographs with copies of communications accepting or denying such requests.

In response to another query, the PMO said it had no record of permission sought by Reliance Jio and Paytm for the use of PM Modi's pictures in advertisements.

In September last year, Reliance Jio had in full-page advertisements in national newspapers dedicated the Reliance Jio 4G service to the PM Modi government's flagship Digital India project. The advertisements featured a photograph of the prime minister triggering a political controversy.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted, "PM of India openly endorses Reliance product." After the government announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8, digital wallet Paytm released an advertisement with the PM's photograph as it welcomed the move.

The Department of Consumer Affairs had sent notices to both the companies under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act of 1950, which bars the commercial use of the prime minister's name and picture.

In March, the government informed the parliament that Reliance Jio and Paytm had apologised for their "inadvertent mistake" of using PM Modi's photographs in their advertisements without permission.
 

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