A Legal Regime Governing Advertisement In India

A Legal Regime Governing Advertisement In India


Advertising is an important & legitimate means for a seller to awaken interest in his products, Advertising industry in India is on the expansion spree for the last few years & has become a serious & big business growing at considerable rate. Advertisement often describe as commmerical speech, enjoys its protection under Article 19(1)(a) of Indian constitution as a fact of the right to information, it facilitates the dissemination of information about the seller & their product, however the growth of the industry is affected by the prevalent malpractices carried out by the advertisers in order to lure the consumer & sustaining on edge over the competitors. There are various regulations & their efficacy in monitoring the practices prevalent in the advertisement world .

Meaning & definition of Advertisement

The word advertisement derived from a latin word Advertere which means “to turn the attention ”

  • According to Philip Kotler “advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation & promotion of ideas , good & services by an indentified sponsor”.
  • According to frank presbrey “advertising is a printed,written, oral & illustrated art of selling ,its objective is to encourage sales of the asvertisers products & to create in the mind of people ,individually or collectively , an impression in favour of the advertiser’s Interest.”
  • Advertising includes oral,written or audiovisual message addressed to the people for the purpose of informing & influencing them to buy the product or to act favourably towards idea or institution.

Objectives of advertising

  • To inform buyers
  • To persuade or convice buyers
  • To remind buyer
  • To build & improve brand image
  • To educate people
  • To promote new product
  • To build long term relation to expand market
  • To gain confidence of buyer

Kinds of Advertisement

  1. Comparative Advertisement

Comparative advertising is a marketing strategy in which company’s product or service is presented as superior when compared to a competitors . a comparative advertising campaign may involve printing a side by side comparison of the features of company’s product next to those of its competitor , typically the competing product is shown in a disparaging light

Example : pepsi co’s challenges ad campaign that directly compare the taste of the beverages to its competitor coca cola

  1. Information Advertisement

Informative advertising is a marketing strategy which emphasises facts & factual information about a product .it is aimed at giving consumers information about the product in order to influence their decision about the product whether to purchase .

3. Tele-marketing Advertisement

Tele-marketing is the act of selling, soliciting or promoting a product or service over the telephone, the tele marketing is the most cost efficient, flexible & statistically accountable

Example : getting calls from xyz bank for the purchase of the new credit card

4. Political Advertisement

Political advertising includes any advertising displays newspaper ads, billboard , signboard etc.. & other means of mass communication used for the purposes of appealing, directly or indirectly for votes or other support in election campaign

Example: In  1990’s Lalu Prasad used electronic media to build image as pro-backward class politician & common man who spend times with cows & buffalos .

5. Ambush Advertisement

Ambush advertising is marketing tactic where company hijacks or ambush the marketing campaign of a competitor in an attempt to steal the spotlight from the competitors marketing campaign

Example: In 1996 Olympics Reebok sponsored the games, but Michael Johnson a sprinter came in game with gold nike shoes he raced in & won the 400m race .

Legal regime governing advertisement in India

1. Consumer protection Act,1986

Under this act, section 6 talks about the right to information about the quality, quantity, potency, perity, etc.. & section 2(r) defines unfair trade practice which covers the gamut of false advertisement & false allurement .

2. Cable Television  Regulation Act, 1995

Section 6 of the act provides that no person will transmit through cable service advertisement code . the advertisement code is set out under rule 7, the authorities under this act has power to prohibits the transmission of a programme or a channel, if it contravenes the advertisement code.

  1. Restriction on Advertisement under the cigarette & tobacco Act,2003

Section 5 of the act prohibits both direct & indirect advertisement of tobacco product in all forms of audio, visual media .

4. The Drugs & Magic Remedies (objectionable Advertisements) Act,1954

It prohibits advertisement of drugs for certain purpose& of treatment of certain disease & disorder. It also prohibits misleading remedies for the treatment of certain disease& disorder

5. The Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques(Regulation & Prevention of Misuse)Act,1994

This act prohibits advertisement relating to prenatal determination of sex, under section 22 it’s a punishable offence.

6. The Young  Persons( Harmful Publications) Act, 1956

Acts makes it a punishable offence to advertise a harmful publication,it is a publication portraying the commission of offence, acts of violence or cruelty or incidents of a repulsive , horrible nature in such manner as would tend to corrupt a young persons.

7. The Emblems & Names( Prevention of Improper Use)Act,1950

The act prohibits the use, for professionalor commercial purpose of select emblems & names of national or international significance .An advertiser who makes commercial use of such emblems & names would be liable under this act.

8. The Indecent Representation of Women(Prohibition)Act, 1986

The act prohibits the publication of advertisement containing an indecent representation of women.

  1. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994

The act prohibits or disallows any publication or advertising of any sort of human organ & control , evaluation, stockpiling & transplantation .

10.The Prize Competition Act, 1995

Prohibits the publication or distribution of advertisemt of prize competition where the prize or prize offered exceeds Rs 1000 in any month.

  1. The Representation of People Act, 1951

The display  to the public of any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus in any polling area during the period of 48 hours ending with the time fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in the polling area is prohibited under the section 126

12.The Bar Council Rules on Professional Standard Framed Under the Advocates Act, 1961

The act prohibits advocates from soliciting or advertising directly or indirectly , whether by circulars, advertisements, touts, personal communication, interview or producing photographs to be published in connection with cases they have been engaged in.

13.The India Medical Council(Professional Conduct, Etiquette & Ethics)Regulation Act 2002

The act prohibits soliciting of patients directly or indirectly by physicians,institution or organisations through advertisement.

14.Indian Penal Code, 1860

It is punishable offence to advertise any obscene, publication or its distribution, sale , hire, or circulation .


At present there are numerous regulations monitoring the display of obscene &  misleading advertisement in india however, it is not uncommon to see various advertisement which are patently false & misleading promoting dubious products & making unsubstantiated claims . In reality most of advertisement are ignored by the consumers & go unnoticed by the statutory bodies so, in order to enforce the regulation the need of the hour is whenever an advertisement breach public confidence ,the regulators should take immediate action against the violators.


1.Madhavi Goradia Divan, Facts Of Media Law,(Eastern Book Company,Lucknow,2nd ed.,2013)

2.LawTeacher, Advertising  Laws in India: An Overview.(visited on 2 Mar  2022     https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/commercial-law/advertising-laws-in-india-law-essays.php?vref=1

Author: Gururaj G Udagi,
Karnataka State Law University, 3rd year Student

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