Liquor Ads in a row with Judiciary

It appears that after years of flouting the government norms and circumventing the laws through surrogate advertising, the law is ready to confront the industry.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Vijendra Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover of Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to Information & Broadcasting (I & B)Ministry and a few liquor companies on a Pubic Interest Litigation writ petition (PIL) that asked for restraining liquor companies form promoting their products, directly or indirectly, in the country through advertising.

Notices have been issued to I&B Ministry, central board of film certification, Jagatjit Industries, United Breweries, SABMiller India, Bacardi Martini India, Seagram India and Diageo India for submitting their reply by Oct 30.

The petition that came for hearing on Thursday prayed for restraining the respondents from promoting directly or indirectly the sale and consumption of wine, liquor and other alcoholic products on TV and print media, that is being done in total violation of the rules and notification dated 9.8.2005 issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting.

According to the notification, advertising of a product that uses a brand name used by a liquor product must not contain any nuances or phrases used by the liquor product and must not use particular colours, layout and presentation associated with the liquor product.

All such advertisements also need to be previewed and certified by the Central Board of Film Certification prior to telecast

However, the advertising rules are being flouted openly by the liquor companies across the board and the government's apathy in this regards is deplorable, says the petition. The petition submits that through catchy advertisements aimed at promoting liquor products, the liquor companies in India are targeting the youth of the country.

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