Advertising and media industry bodies are seeking more time for the enforcement of the directive for mandatory submission of a self-declaration certificate (SDC) before releasing new print, TV, or digital advertisements, which comes into effect from June 18.

Sources said industry bodies such as the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) are considering various legal options to get relief from the issue.

Legal Move

Sources said these industry bodies are considering approaching the Supreme Court for relief. Industry bodies are deliberating approaching the vacation bench of the Apex Court with a petition for deferment. They are also considering seeking impleadment in the ongoing case of the Indian Medical Association of India versus the Union of India before the Supreme Court, which is next slated to be heard on July 9, industry sources said.

“We may consider approaching the vacation bench for deferment of this directive and getting impleaded in the case, which is slated to be heard on July 9,” said a representative of one of the industry bodies. Another senior executive of a different industry body indicated plans to approach the courts for relief.

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The confusion around this directive has sent advertisers into a tizzy. The Supreme Court’s order on May 7 said that all advertisers and advertising agencies must submit a “Self-Declaration Certificate” to certify that their ads do not contain misleading claims and comply with the regulatory guidelines. It directed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to establish the requisite mechanisms for the same.

On June 3, MIB issued an order stating that SDC by advertisers for broadcasting or publishing new ads on TV, print, digital, and radio will be mandatory from June 18. They need to generate it on the Broadcast Seva Portal for TV and radio ads and on the Press Council of India’s portal for print and digital ads.

Meanwhile, bodies such as the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) have asked its members not to issue new ads without SDC from June 18 in line with the directive.

All the industry bodies had earlier urged the Ministry to give more time for implementation of the directive, citing various challenges in implementation given the large volume of ads released, confusion regarding the nuances of SDCs, especially for digital programmatic ads, and the complexity of the mechanism, among others. In a meeting held on June 11 with industry bodies, Ministry officials stressed the need for the implementation of the mandatory submission of SDC from June 18, since it is a SC dictat.