Celebrities can face 5 years in jail for misleading ads

Mail Today Bureau   New Delhi     Last Updated: August 30, 2016  | 09:16 IST
Celebrities can face 5 years in jail for misleading ads

Celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements can be jailed for up to five years and face a fine of Rs 50 lakh under a new draft law which will be taken up by a group of ministers on Tuesday. Last August, the centre had introduced the Consumer Protection Bill 2015 in Lok Sabha to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its recommendations in April. After studying the panel's report, the consumer affairs ministry has accepted some key recommendations such as provisions for fixing liability on celebrities and stringent punishment for adulteration, among others. According to sources, the department of consumer affairs has received comments from other ministries on the draft law.

A group of ministers headed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the changes proposed by the consumer affairs ministry in the draft law before placing it for Cabinet approval. Consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, heath minister J.P. Nadda, power minister Piyush Goyal, transport minister Nitin Gakari and commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman are also part of the informal group of ministers.

According to sources, the ministry has proposed stringent provisions to tackle misleading advertisements as well as to fix liability on endorsers/celebrities. For first-time offence, a fine of Rs 10 lakh and jail term of up to two years while for second and subsequent offences, a fine of Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of five years has been proposed for brand ambassadors, a source said. The ministry has proposed similar penalty and jail term for adulteration besides license suspension and cancellation.

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