New Delhi: A new draft bill seeking up to five-year jail term and a fine of Rs.50 lakh for celebrities found endorsing misleading advertisements will be taken up by a group of ministers (GoM) on Tuesday.
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 had submitted its recommendations in April. After studying the panel’s report, the consumer affairs ministry has accepted some key recommendations such as provisions for fixing liability on celebrities, stringent punishment for adulteration among others.
According to sources, the Department of Consumer Affairs has received comments from other ministries on the draft law. Almost all the ministries have no objections to the proposed provision to impose hefty penalty and imprisonment to celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements as well as those involved in adulteration, they added.
A group of ministers, headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley, is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the changes proposed by the consumer affairs ministry in the draft law before placing it for the Cabinet nod.
Besides Jaitley, consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan, heath minister J. P. Nadda, transport minister Nitin Gakari, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, power minister Piyush Goyal and commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman are part of the informal GoM.
According to people familiar with the matter, the ministry has 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 imprisonment of up to two years. For second and subsequent offences, a fine of Rs.50 lakh and imprisonment of five years has been proposed for celebrities and brand ambassadors,” people familiar with the situation said.