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Delhi High Court stays ASCI order against airing of MTS' 'Internet baby' ad

Tuesday, 1 April 2014 - 5:20pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Delhi High Court today stayed operation of the Advertising Standards Council of India's order that asked Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd not to air after April 7 an advertisement which the company claims to depict the speed of its Internet service.

Justice Manmohan stayed ASCI's March 24, 2014 decision holding the advertisement's contents as "gross and indecent" and "offensive especially to women" and asked SSTL to not broadcast it after April 7, 2014.
The court also issued notice to the Centre and ASCI, seeking their replies by August 12, the next date of hearing.

The 'MTS 3G Plus born for the Internet' ad depicts a new born child accessing various electronic gadgets like mobiles and tablets while the mother is shown sitting in labour position.

Sistema has sought directions restraining the Centre and ASCI from acting upon the March 24 order saying it has spent USD four million on the making and airing of the ad and that the commercial has won accolades world over.

Central government's standing counsel Neeraj Chaudhari told the court that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has not passed any direction to give effect to ASCI's order.

Chaudhari said that under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, the ministry issues directions to television channels or cable TV operators to stop airing an ad and not to the advertisers. SSTL is a venture of Sistema Joint Stock Financial Corporation of Russia, the Russian Federation and India-based Shyam Group.

In its plea, SSTL has contended that Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI has "erroneously judged" the contents of its commercial as indecent and offensive to women and has sought setting aside of the March 24 order. 

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