No norms to stop use of ‘Bharat Ratna’ in ads: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Monday refused to prohibit cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from using ‘Bharat Ratna’ in advertisements, citing the absence of norms for restricting the use of national awards to endorse commercial products.

A bench led by Justice Dipak Misra pointed out a complete void in terms of statutory provisions and government regulations that could set standards regarding use of the top civilian awards and other national awards by their recipients.

The bench observed that the court could not regulate conduct of an awardee in the absence of legally enforceable provisions and hence, approaching the government was the only resort available to a citizen complaining about ‘misuse’ of national awards by the recipients.

Petitioner V K Naswah had moved the apex court, seeking an order to prohibit Tendulkar from using “Bharat Ratna’ for commercial purposes.