In India, as in several advanced economies, there is only one body for
Self-Regulation in Advertising – the ASCI, which is concerned with safeguarding
the interests of consumers whilst monitoring/guiding the commercial
communications of Practitioners in Advertising on behalf of advertisers, for
advertisements carried by the Media, in their endeavours to influence buying
decisions of the Consuming Public.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) established in 1985 is a
voluntary self-regulatory council, registered as a not-for-profit Company under
section 25 of the Indian Cos. Act with the objective of ensuring that all
advertising should be legal, decent, honest and truthful along with a sense of
social responsibility to the consumer and to the rules of fair competition.
The sponsors of the ASCI, who are its principal members, are firms of
considerable repute within industries in India, which comprise of advertisers,
media, and advertising agencies and other professional or ancillary services
connected with advertising practice. The ASCI is not a Government body, nor does
it formulate rules for the public or for the relevant industries.
It has adopted a Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising. It is a commitment to
honest advertising and to fair competition in the market-place. It stands for
the protection of the legitimate interests of consumers and all concerned with
advertising – advertisers, media, advertising agencies and others who help in
the creation or placement of advertisements.
Objectives of ASCI:
The main objects to be pursued by the Company on its incorporation are: To
monitor administer and promote standards of advertising practices in India with
a view to.
- Ensuring the truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made
through advertising and safeguarding against misleading advertising.
- Ensuring that Advertising is not offensive to generally accepted norms
and standards of public decency.
- Safeguarding against the indiscriminate use of advertising for the
promotion of products or services, which are generally regarded as hazardous
to society or to individuals or which are unacceptable to society as a
- Ensuring that advertisements observe fairness in competition and the
canons of generally accepted competitive behaviour.
- To codify adopt and from time to time modify the code of advertising
practices in India and implement, administer and promote and publicize such
- To provide facilities and machinery in the form of one or more Consumer
Complaints Councils having such composition and with such powers as may be
prescribed from time to time to examine complaints against advertisements in
terms of the Code of Advertising practices and report thereon.
- To give wide publicity to the Code and seek adherence to it of as many
as possible of those engaged in advertising.
- To print and publish pamphlets, leaflets, circulars or other literature
or material that may be considered desirable for the promotion of or
carrying out of the objects of the Company and disseminate it through any
medium of communication.
Consumer Complaints Council:
The Board of Governors shall appoint Consumer Complaints Council, the number of
members of which shall not be more than twenty one. Out of these 21 members, 12
are from civil society and nine from advertising practitioners. The CCC decides
upon the complaints within a period of 4 to 6 weeks. The Consumer Complaints
Council shall examine and investigate the complaints received from the consumers
and the general public, including the members of the Company, regarding any
breach of the Code of Conduct and/or advertising ethics and recommend the action
to be taken in that regards.
Power of the Consumer Complaints Council:
- Each Council shall be entitled to receive complaints from the Board of
Governors, the Consumers, the general public and members of the Company.
- Each Council shall enquire, investigate and decide upon the complaints
received by it within the framework of the Code of Conduct adopted by the
- All the decisions of each Council shall be by simple majority, in
writing and may specify the action to be taken in respect of the offending
ASCI propagates its Code and a sense of responsibility for its observance
amongst advertisers, advertising agencies and others connected with the creation
of advertisements, and the media. ASCI encourages the public to COMPLAIN against
advertisements with which they may be unhappy for any reason and ensures that
each complaint receives a prompt and objective consideration by an impartial
committee Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) which takes into account the view
point of the advertiser, and an appropriate decision is communicated to all
concerned. ASCI endeavours to achieve compliance with its decisions through
reasoned persuasion and the power of public opinion.
ASCI has one overarching goal- to maintain and enhance the public's confidence
in advertising. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for
Self-Regulation which requires advertisements to be:
- Truthful and fair to consumers and competitors.
- Within the bounds of generally accepted standards of public decency and
- Not used indiscriminately for the promotion of products, hazardous or
harmful to society or to individuals particularly minors, to a degree
unacceptable to society at large.