Delhi HC nixes Dabur’s plea against order on withdrawal of health drink ad

While rejecting Dabur India’s petition to prevent the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) from interfering with the airing of advertisements for its health drink Vita, the Delhi High Court recently ruled that the advertising industry It thrives on creativity and freedom.” It’s an expression, and they’ll hate government-mandated regulations.”

One judge bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Oli said in the Jan. 9 ruling that not many industries enjoy self-regulatory regimes but is a member of ASCI, a self-regulatory body. He said it was unfair to Dhabar’s side. It questions the privilege of self-regulation and, equally broadly, the authority of respondents to enforce their norms. ”

The court found the prayers Dabur asked to be “incomplete,” and the trial court justified ASCI’s detention because it could not prove that Dabur attempted to interfere with the airing of the advertisement in question. refused to

“In the opinion considered by this Court, there is no basis for interfering with the challenged order passed by the trial court. It is the appellant’s (Dabur India) own argument that it could only send a recommendation to the Government of India to issue the necessary instructions.

“The decision to cut off the broadcast rests with the government, not the respondent. No evidence was presented to the trial court,” he added.

These observations were made on February 4, 2022 by ASCI, who stated the company’s claim that ‘Dabur Vita’ is ‘India’s finest immunity expert’ and ‘you can’t get it in any other health drink’. It was done in Dabur India’s case against the trial court’s order upholding the decision. “Your child will get better immunity” was “insufficiently proven” and not backed by science.

The agency further observed that the claims were “likely to be misleading through hyperbole and cause widespread disappointment in the consumer mind.” We asked the media to drop the allegations, stop releasing ads by February 15, 2022, and notify all media to ensure they implement the decision. .

Dabur sought interim instructions to “declare that the advertisement in question is true and does not violate the advertising code,” and further asked the HC to restrain the operation of ASCI’s instructions. . Dabur India said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting could take some action if the ASCI order is not stopped.

After examining ASCI’s orders/communications, the High Court said their findings were “highly deprecating the allegations” made by Dabur India about its products. The agency has observed that the claims are not supported by science and that the product must go through the process of clinical trials to empirically prove the claims made by it.

The High Court said Dabur India “disrespected” the findings given by the body, which “admitted the appellant himself to be a member and is a voluntary society of its members.” determined that it was notable that the norms established by the organization were recognized as “advertising codes” and given legal sanctity in the 1994 Cable Television Network Regulations. HC said that while the rule did not apply to the ad in question, since it was not aired on cable TV and was confined to Dabur’s own website and social media, “however, the sacredness given to defendant’s code was It is clearly established that it only answers appellant’s contention in accordance with the defendant’s authority to enforce that code.”

HC noted that the ad made a “very emphatic and self-assured claim” that “there is no other health drink that will give your child more immunity.” It is the centerpiece of an advertisement that tells customers that all other products on the market are inferior to the complainant’s. And it is clear that it is intended to discredit our competitors,” the court said.

It further states that the claims made in the advertisements could be misleading at this stage when the efficacy of the product “has not yet been established according to established standards.” It said there was “no prima facie evidence on which the appellant could argue in favor of the appellant” at the interlocutory stage, as it would be substantiated later.

“The balance of convenience is also against appellants because it is always safe to be inattentive and does not allow them to make claims about products related to human health. , there can be no irreparable harm suffered by the appellant, simply because the manner in which it sought to promote the product through the advertisement in question was found to be misleading.”

While dismissing the appeal, the High Court also ruled that Dabur “was not entitled to interim relief to suspend the operation of the order if no final relief was sought.”2022 He pointed out that he had not asked for a prayer asking for the annulment of the decree of the moon. Granted ”.

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