HC stays ASCI order against airing of internet baby ad

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 2 2014, 09:37am hrs
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed operation of the Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI) order that asked Sistema Shyam Teleservices not to air after April 7 an advertisement which the company claims to depict the speed of its internet service.

Justice Manmohan stayed ASCI's March 24, 2014 decision holding the advertisement's contents as "gross and indecent" and "offensive especially to women" and asked SSTL to not broadcast it after April 7, 2014. The court also issued notice to the Centre and ASCI, seeking their replies by August 12, the next hearing.

The 'MTS 3G Plus born for the internet' ad depicts a new born child accessing electronic gadgets while the mother is shown in labour.

Sistema has sought directions restraining the Centre and ASCI from acting upon the March 24 order saying it has spent $4 million on the making and airing of the ad and that the commercial has won accolades world over.

The Centre's standing counsel Neeraj Chaudhari told the court the I&B ministry has not passed any direction to give effect to ASCI's order. Chaudhari said that under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, the ministry issues directions to TV channels or cable TV operators to stop airing an ad and not to the advertisers.

SSTL has contended that the consumer complaints council of ASCI has "erroneously judged" the contents of its commercial as indecent and offensive to women and has sought setting aside of the March 24 order.