TT, New Delhi, March 10: The Centre today claimed that Reliance Jio and Paytm had apologised for their "inadvertent mistake" in using a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in full-page advertisements in violation of the law.
This was disclosed to the Rajya Sabha today by the government in a written answer to a question by Congress leader Kapil Sibal whether permission had been sought by the companies to use the Prime Minister's photograph while promoting their brands.
The Union consumer affairs ministry, which administers the Emblems and Names Act of 1950, said in its written reply: "As per our knowledge, PayTm and Reliance Jio had used the photograph of the Prime Minister in their respective full-page advertisement contravening the 'prior permission' stipulation...."
When clarifications were sought, Paytm and Reliance Jio "apologised for their inadvertent mistake", it said.
There is no mention of either company being penalised. The penalty is a paltry, 1950 vintage fine of Rs 500.
Till now, efforts to use the Right to Information route to get information whether the Prime Minister's Office had cleared the use of Modi's photographs for the two advertisements had come to naught.
In the light of the violations, the information and broadcasting ministry has advised the print media to ensure that permissions have been secured before accepting advertisements that mention the emblem or names specified in the law.