Directorate of Information and Publicity issues notice to AAP, says properties will be sealed if not complied with

The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday was issued a notice by the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) giving it a total of 10 days to deposit 163.62 crores. The notice was served for its political advertisements published allegedly in the form of government advertisements in the year 2016-17.

DIP on Wednesday issued the recovery notice, to the AAP. The Notice stated that it said had violated the guidelines on political advertisements issued by the Supreme Court and cost the State exchequer. According to sources, if the AAP fails to make the payment, legal action, including sealing of the office of the AAP and attachment of the properties of the party shall be done.

VK Saxena, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, had on December 19, 2022, directed the Delhi chief secretary to recover Rs 99.31 crore spent on advertisements in 2015-2016 from the AAP. The notice by DIP includes Rs 99.31 crore as principal and Rs 64.31 crore as interest.

In its judgements of May 2015 and March 2016 on a batch of writ petitions, the Supreme Court constituted in April 2016 a three-member Committee of Content Regulation of Government Advertising (CCRGA) under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Its purpose was to regulate the advertising content and eliminate unproductive expenditure of government revenue.

After a complaint was filed by the Ajay Maken of the Congress Party, the CCRGA initiated an investigation and found certain advertisements by the Delhi government in violation of the apex court’s guidelines. The CCRGA thus directed the Delhi government’s DIP to quantify the amounts spent on such advertisements and recover the same from the AAP.

In its order on September 16, 2016, the CCRGA said “the main purpose and objectives of the guidelines framed by the Supreme Court was to prevent misuse of government fund for the projection of image of the politician or the political party in power.” “Since the same has happened even after the Supreme Court judgment, the only way it can be rectified is to make the political party, the main beneficiary in the process of violation, pay for the expenditure incurred by the government.” 

A review petition was filed by the AAP government on September 22, 2016, which was dismissed by the committee on November 11, 2016.  

A final opportunity is hereby given to the AAP to reimburse the amount within 10 days failing which further necessary action as per law will be taken

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