Govt. is in no mood to let off celebrities for endorsing fake products and for signing up misleading advertisements. As per new reports emerging, celebrities can be banned for such activities; and may be, they can be imprisoned as well.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee has made these recommendations, after studying laws from various countries regarding celebrities working in misleading advertisements. Consumer Affair Minister Ram Vilas Paswan informed about the suggestions made by the committee.
As per the recommendations, a jail term of 5 years and a fine of Rs 50 lakh may be imposed on such celebrities. Besides, a ban of three to five years can also be implemented to deter celebrities from endorsing such products.
Minister Paswan said, “We will take action against celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements. We have studied the laws prevailing in other countries on celebrities for misleading ads. There are penalties in some country. There is a provision for ban of three years for celebrities in some country and life time ban in case of repeat offence..”
These suggestions would be now handed over to the cabinet for approval.
As per insider reports, Minister Paswan is in favor of ban and heavy fine, but seems non-committal on the imprisonment part of the punishment, as it seems a bit harsh.
The new Consumer Protection Bill 2015 has already been introduced in the Lok Sabha; and once this bill is passed by the end of this year, then the aspects related to the punishment for misleading advertisements would be clear.
We had earlier reported that Govt. will hold celebrities responsible for the products which they endorse and sell; and heavy punishment can be imposed for misleading advertisements by celebrities.
In fact, in August, reports emerged that a high level meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and imprisonment for celebrities was ruled out for misleading advertisements.
However, fine of Rs 50 lakh, ban for three to five years and imprisonment for celebrities is something which even the media couldn’t speculate.
Another set of reports are emerging, based on which it seems that Ministry of Consumer Affairs can form three different categories of products: say health, food and general category. Based on the category type, a predetermined punishment format can be implemented, after looking into the severity of the issue.
On a side-note – what happens when someone like a Pierce Brosnan does an advertisement for Pan Bahar Pan Masala?