Lucknow district consumer court orders DTH service provider to stop airing ‘misleading ads’
The Lucknow district consumer court recently held Tata Sky responsible for airing misleading and indecent advertisements through its direct to home (DTH) service. The service provider was ordered to stop airing the misleading content within 30 days from the date of the order -- March 26. Failing compliance, the court said, action could be initiated against Tata Sky.
Judicial officer of the court, Rajarshi Shukla, and member Sneh Tripathi passed the order on a petition filed by Dr Anand Akhila, former scientist, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
In his petition, Dr Akhila had raised the issue of ‘misleading and indecent advertisements’ being beamed for years by Tata Sky. He said the advertisements could, at times, mislead children as well as others. “These advertisements have no factual substance and there are times when they appear with indecent content, which can adversely affect the minds of children, students and the youth,” he said after the order was passed.
“I am happy that my point was appreciated by the consumer court and it directed Tata Sky to stop airing such misleading and indecent advertisements within 30 days from the date of the order. In case of non-compliance, the consumer court may take strict action. This matter shall be informed to the broadcasting corporation of India for stopping the telecast of these misleading ads,” he further said.
Quoting examples of such misleading ads, Dr Akhila said, “In one of these advertisements -- for a desi ghee brand -- it said ‘Yeh desi ghee khaiye aur apne parivar to zeher se bachaiye (eat this desi ghee and save your family from poison). Here, zeher (poison) is a strong word. Using it in advertisements in such a generalised manner without any scientific documentation is misleading.”
“The existing Consumer Protection Act, 1986, states that the practice of making any statement, whether orally or in writing or through visible representation, which falsely represents goods as being of a particular standard, quality, grade, composition, style or model, falls under unfair trader practices,” said Dr Akhila.
“As a user, I am entitled to object to indecent and misleading content aired by my service provider. I pay the service provider for factually correct content in news and entertainment. Also, these misleading advertisements consume a high percentage of one’s viewing time,” he added.