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Challenge Against Government’s Use of Officers for Political Promotion

Last Updated on December 4, 2023 by News Desk

The petition filed by EAS Sarma and Jagdeep S Chhokar challenges the deployment of Defence officers and civil servants for what they allege to be political propaganda by the ruling government. They contest specific orders that mandate officers’ involvement in showcasing government achievements and schemes over the last nine years.

The petitioners argue that utilizing Defence officers and civil servants for political promotion violates regulations governing government employees’ conduct. They claim this exploitation aligns with the Representation of Peoples Act’s definition of corrupt practice by using public officials for partisan purposes.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, contends that such actions amount to blatant promotion of a political agenda, violating both official conduct rules and the spirit of the Representation of Peoples Act. However, the bench notes the importance of disseminating information about government schemes but emphasizes that during the model code of conduct, such practices are inappropriate.

The court deliberates on the differentiation between highlighting recent achievements and engaging in political promotion. While acknowledging the necessity of public awareness about government schemes, the court considers the context and timing crucial. It questions the distinction between showcasing recent successes and promoting a particular political agenda.

The Additional Solicitor General counters, emphasizing the differentiation between the government and political parties. ASG Sharma argues that the plea assumes the government and the ruling party are synonymous, asserting the government’s duty to inform citizens about its initiatives without political bias.

The case raises pivotal questions about the permissible extent of government officials’ involvement in highlighting governmental achievements. It probes the thin line between informative dissemination and partisan promotion, prompting a crucial debate on the ethical and legal boundaries in utilizing public servants for political purposes.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh

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