HC questions Centre: Is there any unified policy on penalty of Programme Code, Advertising Code, under Cable TV Rules [Read Order]


The Delhi High Court questions Centre as to whether there is any unified policy on penalty of Programme Code, Advertising Code, under Cable TV Rules. 

The order was passed by the Court after observing that while the Cable Television Network Rules provide for the two codes, however the penalty for violating the same was not present. The Delhi High Court has directed Central government to file an affidavit specially stating that whether or not there is any structural policy framed and followed by it for imposing penalties when there is sheer violation of the “Programme Code” or “Advertising Code” under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

Case of the Petitioner

The Court was dealing with a petition instituted by TV Today against an order passed by the I& B Ministry, Government of India. In reference with the impugned order, the petitioner had been directed to run “an apology scroll in bold legible font at the bottom of the screen for two days continuously” for running an advertisement of “All Seasons” Club Soda which was a surrogate advertisement for “All Seasons” Whisky.

The L-shaped advertisement was telecast on Aaj Tak TV channel during the LIVE coverage of the Independence Day event. Finding the advertisement objectionable with respect to provisions of the Cable Television Networks Act, 1995, a show cause was issued to the petitioner.

Wanted To Stay Updated & keen to Gain Knowledge. Join us on Telegram Here. or What'sApp Here.

Submissions of I& B

After hearing the petitioner, I& B Ministry came to the conclusion that the color and layout of the bottle being the same as the whisky bottle of the advertiser, the advertisement was nothing but surrogate advertising and hence, the direction to issue an apology was imposed. Centre defended the order on the ground that its timing was inappropriate.

Observation of the Court

The Court observed that there was absence of a structural framework stating the imposition of penalties on the violation of the Cable Television Network Rules. The Court further proceeded to deal with interim relief in the petition. The Court observed that prima facie it can be observed that the Whisky bottle and the Club Soda bottle have apparently the same look and feel/ trade dress, which raises questions with respect to “surrogate advertising”.

Taking into consideration the reasonableness of the measure imposed and the apology, the Court decided to reduce the frequency of the apology that was suppose to flash on the screen. In the words of the Court:

“Accordingly, at this stage, the Petitioner is directed to run a 10 second apology every hour between 8 am to 8 pm on two days.”

Wanted To Stay Updated & keen to Gain Knowledge. Join us on Telegram Here. or What'sApp Here.

The matter was listed for further hearing in July, the Court added further “In the counter affidavit, the I& B Ministry shall specifically state if there is any uniform policy followed by it in imposing penalties for violation of the “Programme Code” or “Advertising Code”.

Case Details

Before: Delhi High Court

Case Title: TV Today v. UOI

Coram: Hon’ble Justice Prathiba M. Singh.


Post a Comment

0 Comments