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Advertisement Laws in India

All the 90s kids will surely remember the classic ad of "Nirma, washing powder Nirma" or cute girl from "parle G, G for genius". Ever wondered how these advertisements are regulated. So there are some specific laws and some substantive laws like IPC which regulate the functioning of advertisement.

Some of the laws regulating the advertisement industry in India are:

A) Press Council of India Act, 1978.

B) Cable television regulation act, 1955 and Cable television amendment act, 2006: Section 6 of the Act, provides that no person shall send or transmit through a cable service any advertisement unless such advertisement is in conformity with the advertisement code prescribed under the amendment.

C) Advertising restrictions under Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 & Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956: section 22 of the Act prohibits any advertisement which propagates the idea of sex determination of babies in the womb.

D) Consumer Protection Act, 1986: provides that advertisements are the Rights of the buyer to know real quality and quantity and standards of products and thus to protect oneself from unfair practices. Advertisements must be based on this concept only.

E) Restrictions on advertising under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 2003: Section 5 of this Act, prohibits both direct & indirect advertisement of tobacco products in all forms of audio, visual and print media.

F) Advertising regulations under Drug and Magic Remedies Act, 1954 & Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940: section 29 prohibits the use of any result of test laboratory for advertisement. The punishment prescribed for such an offense is fine which may extend up to five hundred rupees and imprisonment up to ten years upon a subsequent conviction.

G) The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 1996: Political advertisements are prohibited for a period of forty-eight hours ending with the hours fixed for the conclusion of polling for any elections in a given polling area.

The law stipulates that during this time, a person shall not display to the public any election matter by means of cinematography, television, or other similar apparatus. The use of displaying posters, signboards, and similar means for political advertisement in any public place must be strictly in accordance with the relevant provisions of the local laws.

Equitable opportunity to all political parties and candidates are to have access to public advertisement space for election-related advertisements during the election period. The use of private premises for political advertisement may be made only with the voluntary permission of the occupant. Prohibition of any and all advertisements is at the cost of the public exchequer regarding the achievements of the political party/ruling government.

The statute provides for a penalty of imprisonment and/or fine for anyone, including advertisers, who contravenes these provisions.

H) The Indian Penal Code, 1860: Section 294 punishes the publication of obscene objects and sex advertisements. Further, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 prohibits indecent representations of women.

Establishment of the ASCI (Advertisement standard council of India), 1985. The Advertising Standard Council of India was established as a non-statutory tribunal. It created a self-regulated mechanism of introducing the advertising ethics in India.

The ASCI judges the advertisements based upon its Code of Advertising Practice, also known as the ASCI code. This Code applies to advertisements read, heard, or viewed in India even if they originate or are published abroad so long as they are directed to consumers in India or are exposed to a significant number of consumers in India.

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines, banks should also not promote schemes for zero percent interest finance schemes by publishing advertisements in different newspapers and media indicating that they are promoting or financing consumers under such schemes. They should also refrain from linking their names in any form or manner with any incentive-based advertisement where clarity regarding interest rates is absent.


The Advertising agencies must keep three standards in mind while making advertisement:

1) No false information about product.

2) No obscene words, pictures or sign to be used.

3) Must not misguide people especially children.


1) India: Advertising and Marketing Advertising Law.

2) See, www.lexology.com

3) Laws governing advertisement in India, Blogipleaders, https://blog.ipleaders.in/laws-governing-advertisement-india/.


Swati Tolambia is currently studying law from the School of Law, Mody University of Science & Technology, Laxmangarh, Sikar (Raj.), While she writes this, she is also working as an Editorial Intern with us.

you can contact them: https://www.linkedin.com/in/swati-tolambia-bb22401aa

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