KATHMANDU, Jan 9: A writ petition was filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the recently promulgated Advertisement Regulation Act that goes against the spirit of the Constitution.
Stating that the Act paved way for pre-censorship on advertisement in the media, the petition was filed by advocate Ananta Raj Luitel at the Supreme Court. The petition seeks the apex court intervention to annul some of the controversial provisions of the Act that contradict Article 17 (2a), 19 and 274 (10) of the Constitution. The apex court has scheduled its initial hearing in the Constitutional Bench for Friday.
The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers; the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology; the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the Federal House of Representatives, National Assembly and the Secretariat of the Federal Parliament are named as defendants in the petition
The petition states that Section 8(1) and (2) gives undue power to the government to determine time for media for advertisement. Similarly, Section 16(B) of the Act allows the government to frame standard for monitoring advertisement and Section 15 to set standard for published and broadcasted advertisement and monitoring provisions against the constitutional provisions, the petitioner has claimed.
The petition states that Section 23(1) for sentencing power conferred to the Provincial Information Ministry; Section 23(4) and (5) that confer power to impose fine to the government authorities and the provision that gives authority to the local level government authorities to remove published and broadcast advertisements with punitive power opens the door for pre-censorship on the media.