In our everyday lives, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements making tall and exaggerated claims. Many of these advertisements are nothing short of misleading consumers about products, its efficacy, its ingredients, benefits, etc. For Consumers, the misleading advertisements of health and nutrition-related products or drugs can have serious repercussions. Not only the consumer's right to information is violated, but showing these misleading advertisements might affect the consumer's lives as the normal consumer ordinary intelligence gets swayed by the claims made about the product. Previously there was no comprehensive legislation to regulate misleading advertisements, the courts, government, tribunals monitored them, and the matters were decided on the case to case basis. Now, the there is a Self-Regulatory authority in Advertising – the ASCI, which is concerned with safeguarding the interests of consumers while monitoring/guiding the commercial communications of Practitioners in Advertising on behalf of advertisers, for advertisements carried by the Media, in their endeavors to influence buying decisions of the Consuming Public.
The Advertising Standards Council of India ("ASCI") is a voluntary self-regulatory authority constituted to monitor the content of advertisements keeping in mind the interest of the consumers/viewers. All complaints made to ASCI by the general public and companies are evaluated and decided by an independent Consumer Complaints Council ("CCC"). The CCC consists of a maximum of twenty-one members out of 12 from civil society, and nine are advertising practitioners. These members are appointed by the Board of Governors of ASCI. The CCC decides upon the complaints within a period of 4 to 6 weeks. The Reserve Bank of India, SEBI and the IRDA are some of the other regulatory authorities that regulate advertisements in their respective fields.
Besides ASCI, the Consumer Protection Act also covers the area of Misleading advertisement. Such, Advertisements are defined as “Unfair trade practice” being followed by the product manufacturer/marketeer.
Sabkuch Legal has empaneled the best defending advertising case lawyers who can help out the consumers, the company, or businesses who have been facing any advertising related issues in any of the respective Council.
Sabkuch Legal's best subject matter experts represent our client in all of these cases before ASCI and Consumer courts.
What is ASCI?
The Advertising Standards Council of India ("ASCI") is a voluntary self-regulatory authority constituted to monitor the content of advertisements keeping in mind the interest of the consumers/viewers. The Council was set up in 1985 as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, 1956. Sponsors of the Council include advertisers, media, advertising agencies, and others connected with advertising.
Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising?
As a benchmark for advertising standards, ASCI has adopted an Advertising Code for Self-Regulation ("Advertisement Code"). The purpose of the Code is to ensure that all advertisements are truthful and honest, non-offensive to the public, against harmful products/unsafe situations, and fair in competition.
Are the courts of India bound to follow the stand taken by ASCI?
Courts in India give significant credence to the decisions of ASCI. Though ASCI not being a statutory body, cannot bind the courts or the party against whom a decision is taken by its decision, nevertheless, as a matter of precedence, courts take into consideration the decision made by ASCI while deliberating on the issue.
Is there anybody that can decide against the order of CCC?
Consumer Complaints Council ("CCC"), as appointed by ASCI, does not have an appellant authority to hear appeals. The Council, however, has an internal system of review in place for orders passed by it. Alternatively, aggrieved parties are free to take the legal recourse by filing writ petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution to the respective high courts.