The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution recently partnered with Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) to strengthen the efforts on stopping misleading advertisements. This collaboration will feature joint efforts to evaluate and pass strictures against violators.
Commenting on the partnership, G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, DoCA added, "The problem of misleading advertisements and the consequent unfair trade practices that arise is widespread - across sectors, mediums and geographies. DoCA's effort is to build a coalition of stakeholders to combat this menace - partnering with ASCI is an important step".
Furthermore, ASCI has requested all Advertisers, Agencies and Media to refrain from any such act of unscrupulous advertising, making claims which could be considered in violation of law. Under the provision of section 9A of the Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Acts, 1954, taking part in the publication of such ads is also a cognizable offence. According to a release issued by ASCI to the media, such advertisers and the media carrying such advertisements will be directly reported to the DoCA, effective from the 1st of December'14.
Narendra Ambwani, ASCI Chairman added, "It's a moment of pride for ASCI to have received such support from DoCA. Earlier our work has been recognized by various government bodies like Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Medical Council of India (MCI) etc. It's highly motivating to see such developments and this partnership has widened ASCI's scope for complaints."
ASCI, which checks 80% of new print and all new TV ads released in the country every month for contravention of its Code will now also look at six priority areas, under agriculture and food, health, education, housing, financial services and e-commerce.
While the operational aspects of this collaboration between DoCA and ASCI is being worked upon, DoCA has requested ASCI to flag off advertisements that are in clear violation of the law (e.g. claims regarding cure of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, sexual impotence, leucoderma, paralysis etc. covered under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act). This would enable prompt action against such non-scrupulous advertisers and protect consumer interest.