Govt to bring new consumer law to check misleading ads: Paswan

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New Delhi, Oct 16: Concerned over misleading ads, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said the government will bring a new Consumer Protection law in the upcoming Parliament session that will have strong provisions against celebrities endorsing such advertisements as well as adulteration.

A group of ministers, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will soon meet to finalise the amendments to the new Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, based on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, he added.

Ram Vilas Paswan

The GoM had in late August, asked the Consumer Affairs Ministry to look at laws of other countries related to misleading ads by celebrities before finalising the Bill.

"For celebrities endorsing misleading ads, Parliamentary Standing Committee has made strong recommendations for provisions of penalty and jail. There should be some action on misleading celebrities," Paswan said on the sidelines of an event here. He said there also could be a ban on celebrities from endorsements if found guilty of misleading advertisements.

"A group of ministers will soon meet to finalise the Consumer Protection Bill. We will then take this Bill to Cabinet for approval. We hope to pass this law in the upcoming session," he added. Asked whether there will be provision of jail term for celebrities, Paswan said:

"We cannot say anything now. The Group of Ministers will decide on that. I would not like to comment. If there is a ban on celebrities for 5 years or life time ban, that is also a big thing".

Earlier addressing the conference on food fortification, Paswan spoke about misleading ads and cited several examples of health supplements endorsed by celebrities for money. He also expressed concerns on misleading ads related to weight gain and loss placed on public transport like three-wheelers.

The Centre in August last year 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.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry had proposed stringent provisions to tackle misleading advertisements as well as to fix liability on endorsers/celebrities. For the first time offence, a fine of Rs 10 lakh and jail term of up to two years, while for second and subsequent offenses, a fine of Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of five years has been proposed for brand ambassadors.

The ministry proposed similar penalty and jail term for adulteration, besides license suspension and cancellation.'

PTI

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