New Delhi : With reports emerging in the media that the Aam Aadmi Party government had spent crores of rupees even outside the Delhi state for its odd-even car rationing scheme, union finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that excessive publicity has become a tool of “political bribery” and underlined the need for tackling the “big menace” of paid news.
“We need to find out a way to check it…We are now reaching a phase when excessive advertisement is acquiring the proportion of political bribery. For the first time the country is confronted with this. We need to see whether excessive advertisements become political bribery,” Jaitley said as he called for a need to discuss how to deal with paid news, which has become a “big menace.”
It is worth mentioning that during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign the Congress used to accuse the BJP of manipulating the media through massive advertisement campaigns.
But Jaitley who holds the dual charge of information and broadcasting along with the finance ministry dismissed the idea of imposing censorship on the media. “The media now is “too large.” Gone are the days when censorship was possible,” he said.
In a media interaction, Jaitley also said that the judiciary must draw its own “Lakshmanrekha” and not take decisions, which fall in the domain of the executive. Judicial review is legitimate domain of judiciary but then the Lakshmanrekha has to be drawn by all the institutions themselves. Lakshmanrekha is very vital,” he said while stressing that the executive decisions are to be taken by the executive and not the judiciary.
He also underlined that activism has to be blended with restraint and there cannot be a compromise with other aspects of the basic structure in the name of independence of the judiciary.
He said people have the options of seeking changes in the decision taken by the executive besides voting out the government. “But these options are not available when the courts end up taking executive decisions”, the finance minister argued.
Jaitley’s criticism of the judiciary is seen in the background of the recent Supreme Court decision to pave the way for the return of the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand that was dismissed by the centre through the instrumentality of Art.356 of the constitution.