Advertising Law in India

Advertisement at one side gives productive information about the products or services; at the same time, most of the advertisements give false and bogus information to deceive customers. Misleading advertising makes deceptive assertions and misrepresents their products, infringing on the customer's right to know what they are buying. Companies conceal or fudge the pricing of offered items or services in order to attract a large consumer base.

Advertised rates frequently fail to convey extra costs and the total cost to the buyer. Companies will sometimes adopt alternative standards to the ones set for their products. This may be observed in advertising where the marketed product is compared to items from other major rivals. Labeling concerns issues such as misrepresenting the true weight and putting adjectives such as "eco-friendly," "natural," and so on packages without defining the meanings. Surrogate advertisements are similar items that are subject to advertising limitations. Companies use the same brand name to promote new items in other allowed categories in order to increase brand awareness and loyalty.

A story published in the Economic Times News Paper criticizes misleading ads for Baba Ramdev's Patanjali goods. According to a story published on the NDTV website, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali organization was fined Rs. 11 lakh by ASCI for making false and misleading statements in its different commercials.

What are Advertisements?

Advertisements are primarily a channel through which vendors may convey information to customers. The information transmitted through this channel is supposed to offer them money as they try to acquire as many customers as possible. Advertising is a type of marketing that has been used for a long time. Advertisements are typically created using a variety of media, including digital and printed materials via television, radio, newspapers, the internet, and so on.

Advertisement Law's Purpose

Major purposes of advertisement law are −

  • To guarantee that advertising's representations and claims are genuine and honest.

  • Ensuring that advertisements are not objectionable to the general public

  • To protect against the indiscriminate use of advertising products that are harmful to society.

  • To guarantee that advertisers behave fairly in competition.

Legal Framework for Advertising Law

In India, there are various laws governing advertising. A summary of some of these laws is provided below −

The Customer Protection Act of 1986

Section 6, provides that in order to safeguard the consumer from deceptive business practises, the consumer has a right to information on the nature, scope, potency, purity, standard, and price of the goods or services, as the case may be. Under the definition of "unfair commercial practise" in Section 2(r) of the Act, deceptive ads, including misrepresentations or false allures, are covered. Under the Act, one may seek redress for unfair commercial practises involving deceptive ads.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act of 2003

Section 5 forbids, among other things, direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products in all forms of audio, visual, and print media.

Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2006-2007, and Cable Television Networks (Regulations) Act, 1995

Section 6 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulations) Act, 1995, states that no one shall broadcast or re-transmit any advertisement over a cable service unless such advertisement complies with the advertisement code provided in the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2006. The aforementioned regulation, however, does not apply to foreign satellite channel programmes that can be received without the use of specialized equipment or a decoder. Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2006, establishes the "Advertising Code" for cable services, which is designed to guarantee that advertising does not violate customers' morals, decency, or religious sensibilities.

Advertisement Code for Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR)

Both Doordarshan and AIR, which are controlled by Prasar Bharati (a statutory autonomous body established under the Prasar Bharati Act), follow a comprehensive code for commercial advertisements that govern the content and nature of advertisements that can be relayed over the agencies.

Drug and Magic Medicines (Objectionable Advertisement) Act of 1954

This Act aims to regulate drug advertising in some circumstances, outlaw advertising for specific uses of remedies purported to have magical properties, and address related issues.

Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940

Section 29 imposes a penalty on anybody who uses any report of a test or analysis produced by the Central Drugs Laboratory or a Government Analyst, or any extract from such a report, for the purpose of promoting any medication. On subsequent conviction, the punishment for such an offence is a fine of up to 500 rupees and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act of 1950

It prohibits the use of any trade mark or design, any name or emblem specified in the Act's Schedule, or any colorable imitation thereof, for the purpose of any trade, business, calling, or profession without the prior permission of the Central Government.

Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

Section 53 of this Act provides for a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakhs for fraudulent and misleading ads pertaining to the description, type, content, or quality of any food.

The Indecent Portrayal of Women (Prohibition) Act of 1986

It prohibits indecent representation of women in ads, publications, writings, paintings, figures, or in any other form, as well as anything connected with or ancillary thereto (Sections 3 and 4 of the Act).

Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994

Advertisement in any form regarding prenatal sex determination services accessible at any genetic counselling centre, laboratory, clinic, or other location is forbidden under this Act and is a serious offence (Section 22).

The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956

Section 3 of the Act, among other things, establishes a penalty for advertising or making known by any means whatever that any harmful publication (as defined in the Act) can be obtained from or via any person.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951

It prohibits the people from seeing election-related material on a cinematograph, television, or other similar device in any voting place for forty-eight hours following the time set for the polls to close for any election in the polling place (Section 126).

The Indian Penal Code, 1806

The IPC, through a variety of clauses, forbids obscene, defamatory publishing, lottery publication, and/or remarks that create or promote disharmony or hostility in society.


In India, various restrictions now govern the exhibition of indecent and deceptive advertisements. In fact, most advertisements are overlooked by consumers and go undetected by statutory bodies; therefore, in order to enforce the restrictions, the need of the hour is for regulators to take fast action if an advertisement breaks public confidence. The proposed Broadcasting Bill, 2007, is intended to significantly alter the advertising process. The necessity for a uniform statutory framework regulating advertising has become increasingly pressing, and it is anticipated that the nation's legislature will soon recognize the need for such codification of advertising regulations.


Q1. What are the major laws that regulate advertising?

Ans. The FTC Act, which forbids "unfair or misleading actions or practices," the Lanham Act, which is the federal false advertising legislation, and the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Q2. What are the laws and ethics of advertising?

Ans. Ethics is a collection of moral rules that regulate a person's or organization's behavior or activities. Truth, fairness, and justice in messaging and customer experience are central to ethical advertising. An ethical commercial is truthful, factual, and promotes human dignity.

Q3. Why are advertising laws important?

Ans. Through the promotion of responsible advertising, advertising self-regulation serves to establish consumer trust in brands, which in turn promotes brand loyalty, improves sales, and enhances market share.

Updated on: 22-Feb-2023

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