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  • What is Advertising law?
  • What is role of ASCI?
  • What are the laws governing Media in general?
  • Which products and services cannot be advertised?
  • What are the regulatory agencies in India?

What is Advertising law?

It refers to a body of laws associated to the mode and methodology of communicating and conveying details or particulars of any product or service to the public. The effective marketing is the key of every successful business. However, every business has some legal obligations to ensure that any claims or portrayal they construct in their advertisement are truthful or in some other way not violating the law.

What are the applicable laws to the topic of advertising?

Currently in India, there is no central statutory office or uniform enactment managing the advertising business. The Indian advertising market all in all is managed and controlled by a non-statutory body, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). Without uniform coordinated enactment, it is important for promoters to guarantee that a commercial is in consistence will all nearby and national notice laws.

Role of ASCI:

ASCI is a self-regulatory body constituted in 1985 for the promotion of ‘responsible advertising’. Its objectives include, upholding the honesty of representation & claims made, safeguarding the promotions of substances which are hazardous to society, and so on. The ASCI follows a ‘Code for the self-regulation in advertising’. This code is applicable to commissioning, creation, publishing of advertisements. Despite being non-statutory, the code has been given recognition under certain Indian legislations, with it being colloquially followed by the advertising industry

Laws governing Media in general (ASCI aims at complementing these laws, not being in conflict with them):

  • Electronic Media Monitoring Centre
  • Code of Conduct of the News Broadcaster Association
  • Cable Television Network Rules, 1994
  • The Press Council Act 1978
  • Code for Commercial Advertising on Doordarshan and All India Radio
  • Consumer Protection Act, 1986(for example provisions banning comparative advertising)
  • Laws related to Intellectual property rights

Some Products & Services which cannot be advertised:

  • Tobacco
  • Bar Council of India Rules do not allow the advertisement for lawyers or law firms.
  • As per Indian Medical Council (professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations,
  • physicians cannot advertise about their services.
  • Advertisements w.r.t. ’magical remedies’ of diseases. [The Drugs and Magical Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954]
  • Products related to sexuality may be allowed if they are in contravention with any statue in place, for example, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.

Free Speech & Advertisements:

Article 19(1)(A) OF the Constitution provides the freedom of speech however this right is subject to certain restrictions. The ASCI Code makes policies keeping in mind the other statutes and legal principles and provides for certain grounds on which no advertisement can be associated with. Some of those grounds are the potential of inciting a mob towards disorder, denigration of any race/caste/colour etc., presentation of criminality as desirable and so on.

Some regulatory agencies in India:

  • Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) – deals with complaints regarding content showcased on TV. The Secretary Broadcasting Content Complaints Council
    C/o Indian Broadcasting Foundation,
    B-304, Ansal Plaza, New Delhi 110047, India
    Phone Nos. +91 11 43794488
    Fax No. +91 11 43794455
  • ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council – aims at redressing the grievances & complaints of consumers.
    The Secretary General,
    The Advertising Standards Council of India,
    219, Bombay Market, 78 Tardeo Road, Mumbai 400 034, India
    Tel: +91 22 23513982,
    Fax: +91 22 23516863,
  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) – FSSAI aims at providing scientific criterions related to articles of food.
    Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
    FDA Bhawan, Kotla Road, New Delhi-110002, India
    EPABX: +91 11 23236975
    Telefax: +91 11 23220994

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