13 companies withdrew misleading advertisements, 3 companies agreed for corrective advertisement after CCPA issued notices

CCPA imposed penalties on 3 companies for their misleading advertisements

The Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today informed that based on the notices issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) against misleading advertisements by companies, 13 companies withdrew misleading advertisements and 3 companies agreed for corrective advertisement. CCPA has also imposed penalties on 3 companies for their misleading advertisements. CCPA has recently issued two Safety Notices to alert and make consumers cautious against buying household goods which do not conform to BIS standards. An advisory has also been issued to industry associations highlighting the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act and to impress upon their members to cease from making false claims about effectiveness against corona virus which are not supported by competent and duly authorized scientific advice.

Under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 2019, CCPA has been established w.e.f 24.07.2020 to regulate matters, inter alia, relating to false or misleading advertisements which are prejudicial to the interests of public and consumers as a class. The CCPA can issue directions to the concerned trader or manufacturer or endorser or advertiser or publisher, as the case may be, to discontinue such advertisement or to modify the same. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 also provides for imposition of penalty by the CCPA on a manufacturer or endorser or publisher and imprisonment and penalty by a competent court on any manufacturer or service provider, who is found responsible for a false or misleading advertisement.

All advertisements telecast on private satellite TV channels are required to adhere the Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 framed thereunder. Appropriate action is taken in cases where Advertising Code is found to be violated.

Section 23 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 describes responsibility of Food Business Operators in respect of packaging and labelling of food products while Section 24 places restrictions on misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices.

FSSAI has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations on 19.11.2018. These regulations are aimed at establishing fairness in claims and advertisements of food products and make food businesses accountable for such claims/advertisements so as to protect consumer interests.