The ‘Science and Rationalists Association of India’ popularly known as ‘Juktibadi Samiti’ is working for eradication of superstition and racism for past many years. They have quite a few publications- books, magazines those are in high demand.

Since a few month Bankura District branch of this association noticed an advertisement of an astrologer named Sri Vrigu (Adwitiya) in Bankura railway station area in which he claims to solve all types of problem by astrology.

As everyone knows profession tax is must on the practice of lawful Profession, Trades, Callings and Employment mentioned in any of the schedule appended to the West Bengal State Tax on Profession, Trades, Callings &Employment Act-1979. But it was observed that, Astrology has no legal sanction under any law. Even propagation of such practice is forbidden under the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act-1954 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act-1940. Then how an illegal profession is advertised by Railway Department in a Government place? – asked our District branch Sri Tarun Rakshit. As a secretary of central committee I already submit a complain letter to the station manager of the Bankura Railway station and to the Divisional Railway Manager of Adra Railway Division on date 15 December ’2009.It also, we discussed several time with the station manger regarding this issue but the rail department ignored.

As one popular monthly magazine ‘Bankura Juktibadi’ is regularly published by the organization where we focused the problems and works on anti-superstition activities. In last two months we covered this story. Then the people of Bankura are questioning how a government department can promote all this bogus and frauds. Is there any lack of money as the railway board is earning from the illegal way?

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Comment by BIPLAB DAS on February 22, 2010 at 12:51pm
i agrred withu.
Comment by Ian on February 21, 2010 at 9:20pm
There has been a fascinating debate as to the difference between free speech and misleading advertising claims:

"In Hamdard Dawakhana v. Union of India[12] the Supreme Court was faced with the question as to whether the Drug and Magic Remedies Act, which put restrictions on the advertisements of drugs in certain cases and prohibited advertisements of drugs having magic qualities for curing diseases, was valid as it curbed the freedom of speech and expression of a person by imposing restrictions on advertisements. The Supreme Court held that, an advertisement is no doubt a form of speech and expression but every advertisement is not a matter dealing with the expression of ideas and hence advertisement of a commercial nature cannot fall within the concept of Article 19(1)(a).

However, in Tata Press Ltd. v. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd[13], a three judge bench of the Supreme Court differed from the view expressed in the Dawakhana case and held that ‘commercial advertisement’ was definitely a part of Article 19(1)(a) as it aimed at the dissemination of information regarding the product. The Court, however, made it clear that the government could regulate commercial advertisements, which are deceptive, unfair, misleading and untruthful."

It is a shame that the US courts have sided with the false advertisers and propaganda news channels rather than trying to provide a flat playing field, as it were, for free speech.



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