Published On : Tue, May 7th, 2024
National News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

Celebrities, influencers equally liable for deceptive ads: Supreme Court


New Delhi: Taking a firm stand on the issue of misleading advertisements, the Supreme Court has said that celebrities and social media influencers are equally liable if the commercial for the product or service featuring them is found to be deceptive.

During its hearing in the Patanjali Ayurved misleading advertisements case — in which it also pulled up the Indian Medical Association earlier in the day — the court also said broadcasters will have to file a self-declaration form before carrying any advertisements, stating that the commercials comply with the relevant rules.

Continuing its hearing in the case on Tuesday, a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and A Amanullah referred to the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 and pointed out that Guideline 13 requires a person to have enough information or experience with the product or service he or she is endorsing and ensure that it is not deceptive.

“The provisions are meant to serve the consumers and ensure that the consumer is made aware of the kind of product being purchased from the market, particularly in the health and food sectors,” the bench said and ruled that celebrities and social media influencers are equally liable for misleading advertisements of products or services featuring them.

The bench emphasised that ministries need to set up procedures to encourage the consumer to lodge a complaint and then it is taken to its logical conclusion instead of “simply being endorsed or marked”.

Until that happens, the court ordered broadcasters to file a self-declaration form before carrying any advertisements, stating that the commercial complies with the relevant rules and codes.

“As a remedy, we deem it appropriate to direct that a self-declaration be obtained before an advertisement is permitted. Self-declaration is to be obtained for advertisement on the lines of 1994 Cable TV Network Rules, Advertising Code et cetera,” the two-judge bench said.

The court said TV broadcasters can upload the declaration on the Broadcast Sewa portal and ordered that a portal should be set up for the print media within four weeks.

“We don’t want a lot of red tape. We don’t want to make it difficult for advertisers to advertise. We only want to make sure there is responsibility,” the court said.

The court also issued a notice to the President of the Indian Medical Association over his comments made in an interview in April. In the conversation with a news agency, RV Asokan had said it was unfortunate that the Supreme Court had criticised the practice of the IMA and private doctors and implied that vague statements made by the bench had lowered their morale.

Asokan has been given time to respond till May 14, when the hearing in the case will continue.