The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has drafted and proposed an amendment to the Objectionable Advertisements Act, 1954 (Act). The Act amongst other things pertains mainly to promotion and advertisement of magic remedies and drugs for defined ailments, special conditions, and disabilities. Some of the defined categories are fair skin, enhancing sexual prowess, curing stammering, women infertility, greying of hair and premature aging. The proposed amendment demands stringent action against the violators of the Act and has proposed jail term up to 5 years and a fine amounting up to Rs. 50 lakhs!
The Objectionable Advertisement Act, 1954 includes 78 defined categories of ailments and has strictly prohibited the promotion of magic remedy for the defined categories. The amendment proposes to include new ailments, disabilities, special conditions in the defined categories. Amongst the proposed disabilities or special conditions, some of the notable ones are promoting remedy for skin tone (fair skin promotion), female infertility, improving sexual prowess/performance, premature aging, premature greying of hair, AIDS, etc.
The existing Act has provisioned a jail term up to six months or fine or both for the first-time offenders. The second time convicts may end up in jail for two years may be fined or both. The amendment proposes to increase the severity of the punishments. It proposes a jail term up to 2 years and a fine of Rs 10 lakh for first-time offenders. The second time offenders or subsequent convicts are proposed to be sent to jail for a period of up to 5 years and to be fined up to Rs. 50 lakh.