DoCA Ties Up With Advertising Council Of India To Regulate Misleading Ads

In a bid to prevent misleading advertisements from fooling consumers, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has tied up with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) to implement self regulation for advertisers as well as pass strictures against the violating advertisers.

“The problem of misleading advertisements and the consequent unfair trade practices that arise is widespread across sectors, mediums and geographies. The DoCA's effort is to build a coalition of stakeholders to combat this menace - partnering with the ASCI is an important step”, said G. Gurucharan, additional secretary at the DoCA.

The partnership is expected to bring in stricter rules for advertisements, especially in six key sectors that include agriculture and food, health, education, housing, financial services and e-commerce.

Under the partnership, the DoCA will redirect any complaint received by it to the ASCI in order to maintain clarity in the processing of complaints against advertisements that has already been received by the Advertising Standard Council of India.

The ASCI will evaluate the complaints across different medium such as print, packaging, internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters, bill boards among others.

Commenting on the association, Narendra Ambwani, the ASCI chairman, noted that “It is a moment of pride for the ASCI to have received such support from the 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 the ASCI’s scope for complaints.”

At present, the operational details of the tie-up are still under process. However, the DoCA has asked the ASCI to show a red flag to advertisements that clearly violate the law. “This would enable prompt action against such non-scrupulous advertisers and protect consumer interest,” added Ambawani.

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