Reliance Jio could likely end up paying a penalty of just Rs 500 for using Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph in all their advertisements, without his permission.
Earlier this week, the Parliament was told that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) did not grant permission to use the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in print and electronic advertisements of Reliance Jio.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha to a question by Samajwadi Party's Neeraj Shekhar, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also admitted that it was aware that Reliance Jio used the Prime Minister's photographs in the advertisement.
"Yes sir, the government was aware," said Rathore, adding that no permission was granted by PMO.
He added that the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), a media unit of ministry, is the nodal agency for release of advertisement on the policies and programme of the government in various media vehicles, but "releases government advertisements only and does not release advertisements of any private body".
The opposition had also pointed out the use of the Prime Minister's photo by e-wallets like Paytm and Freecharge, who ran full page advertisements in newspapers.
As Shekhar sought to know about the actions taken against Jio, if permission was not taken in advance, Rathore replied that the necessary act, the Emblems and Names (prevention of improper use) Act 1950, could be invoked.
According to the act, Section 3 prohibits the use of such a scenario, and "any person who contravenes the provisions of Section 3 shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees."