No need for new laws to check mis-leading ads

NEW DELHI: The Government has ruled out any new legislation to check the menace of misleading advertisements on the electronic or print media and feels the present laws are adequate to deal with the problem.

Apart from enforcement of the Advertising Code and hearing of complaints by the Inter-Ministerial Committee of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, misleading advertisements are also checked by the Advertising Standards Council of India.

In addition, there are various laws which contain provisions with regard to advertising: the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940, the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1955, Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act 2003, and Consumer Protection Act 1986 among others.

Under the Consumer Protection Act 1986, making false or misleading representation materially misleading the public, giving false or misleading facts etc. have been notified as unfair trade practices and a consumer has the right to seek redressal in consumer forums for any loss suffered on account of such misleading advertisements.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority prescribe for penal action against misleading advertisements pertaining to food products.

Rule 7(5) of the Advertising Code is clear that no advertisement shall contain references which are likely to lead the public to infer that the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special or miraculous power or supernatural property or quality, which is difficult of being proved.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources also said the ASCI carries a scroll below advertisements where it attempts to say that the product advertised has not been tested by the Council.

While the Press Council of India takes up all issues relating to misleading advertisements in the print media, the Inter-Ministerial Committee has been referring to ASCI all complaints received by it relating to various TV channels.

The sources said that the advisories issued by the ASCI have been adhered to by the TV channels in almost all cases over the past two or three years.

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