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HC stays criteria for categorization of newspapers.

The High Court has stayed the revised criteria for categorisation of newspapers for distribution of government advertisements in Jammu and Kashmir.

A bench of Justice Jank Raj Kotwal at Jammu wing of the state High Court stayed the revised criteria after two aggrieved owners of empanelled newspapers through their counsel Abhinav Sharma pleaded that some of the items in the revised criteria defy the advertisement policy of 2016.

On comparing the impugned conditions with the advertisement policy, 2016, Prima facie case for showing indulgence has been found,” the court said last week, while staying the government “conditions” under challenge.

The petitioners are aggrieved of some portions (items 4,8, and 9) of the criteria adopted by Information Department for the categorisation of empanelled newspapers and periodicals for distribution of the advertisements.

Their basic contention is on the ground that the conditions so imposed are contrary to and not in consonance with the advertisement policy, 2016 formulated by the government vide Order No. 09-ID of 2016 dated 4-3-2016 pursuant to State Administrative Council (Cabinet) Decision No. 11/3/2016 dated 3-3-2016.

The court issued notice to the government asking it to file objections to the petition within two weeks.

The case is listed for the next hearing on July 24.

The aggrieved owners of the newspapers are against 10 points given to editors who own printing press and no points granted to editors who have no printing press of their own.

Moreover, they plead that minimum 10 employees should have Employees Provident Fund Account besides as many should have insurance scheme.

The government’s stand is that the categorisation of the newspapers has been made for ensuring judicious distribution of advertisements to the newspapers in the state.

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