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Misleading ads' celebrity brand endorsers may be penalised

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NEW DELHI: The Government has said that a Parliamentary Committee's recommendation of penalties against against endorsers of misleading advertisements was under consideration.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution had recommended a fine of Rs One million and imprisonment up to two years or both for first time offence and fine of Rs 5 million and imprisonment for five years for the second time offence for celebrity endorsers.

The Committee had made the recommendation while examining the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution C R Chaudhary told the Parliament.

The Committee had recommended stringent provisions to tackle misleading advertisement as well as to fix liability on endorsers / celebrities.

Replying to another question, he said the Department of Consumer Affairs has launched a portal “Grievance against Misleading Advertisement (GAMA)” where a consumer can lodge a complaint against a misleading advertisement.

4400 plaints of misleading ads since Mar '15

A total of 4438 complaints have been received since March 2015 through this portal. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) processes these complaints according to its Code.

The ASCI and the Ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard.

If a complaint is upheld, ASCI takes up the complaint with the company / agency concerned either for withdrawal or modification of the advertisement. In case of non-compliance of its orders, ASCI forwards the complaints to the regulators concerned for taking appropriate action.

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