Celebrities have to face fine for misleading advertisement, instead of jail: GoM
Celebrities who are endorsing products with some unrealistic and dodgy claims will not have to go to jail. In fact they would have to face a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and a ban on further appearing for advertisements for up to three years, a high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) assigned to further look into the issue has decided.
The GoM on Wednesday has deliberated agreed to do away with the provision for imprisonment of the celebrities, arguing that such provisions do not exist in any country.
The group, headed by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, includes the Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Communications & IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Health Minister J P Nadda, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Paswan’s ministry piloted the Consumer Protection Bill the year 2015.
Consumer Protection Bill
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, that seeked to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, by inserting some tough measures for the protection of consumer rights and also providing strict punishment to violators, was presented in Parliament in 2015.
It was referred to a Standing Committee, which had given a report suggesting measures like making celebrities accountable for the brands they had endorsed, and called for severe penalties such as jail term for celebrities endorsing the brands, publishers and broadcasters for all the misleading advertisements and manufacturers of such products.
The panel had further recommended that for first-time offence, the offender celebrities may be penalised with either a fine of Rs 10 lakh or an imprisonment up to two years or both.
For second-time offences, it called for a fine of Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of five years.
The GoM had decided that instead of jailing the endorsers, they should be further fined Rs 10 lakh and slapped a ban of one year for the first offence, and fined Rs 50 lakh and banned for up to three years for the second offence.
“It was seen that in no other country is a celebrity advertising products jailed. So the GoM decided to do way with the recommendation,” a source in the government said.