Delhi HC restricts scope of previous order asking Airtel to tweak ‘T20 Live and Free’ ad
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday restricted the scope of its previous order asking Bharti Airtel to tweak its ‘T20 cricket Live and Free’ advertisement, to the extent of advertisements published in print media only, and not television advertisements/video clips.
A division bench of the court headed by acting chief justice of the high court Gita Mittal was hearing an appeal moved by Bharti Airtel against an order of a single judge bench asking it to use a font size of 12 pixels in its disclaimer instead of 10 pixels in print media, along with other specific instructions.
The other directions with respect to video clips/television advertisements were stayed.
The single judge bench had asked Bharti Airtel to start its television disclaimer “from the word the girl in the advertisement says ‘seasonal pass....’, in sync with the voice over.”
Counsel appearing for Bharti Airtel, P. Chidambaram argued that its advertisement was in compliance with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) guidelines and did not result in disparagement or violation of intellectual property right.
Reliance Jio had moved the high court on 13 April against Bharti Airtel’s ‘T20 cricket Live and Free’ advertisement, alleging that the advertisement was misleading and deceptive as it failed to inform consumers about the hidden costs.
Bharti Airtel had clarified the ‘free and live’ in the advertisement referred to a free subscription to online streaming platform Hotstar, and not data consumed. It was argued that the fact that users had to pay for data consumption was already stated in the advertisement.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Reliance Jio had claimed that the Airtel’s claim of providing access to all Indian Premier League (IPL) matches “live and free” was not true as a user had to pay for the data consumed for streaming the matches by subscribing to one of the data plans.
Singhvi had further argued that the disclaimer that follows the advertisement, stating that “date consumption will be charged as per the existing plan”, went beyond clarifying or expanding the “main message” and contradicted the message perceived by a viewer.