New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has declined to set aside the Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) order directing telecom major Sistema Shyam to modify its commercial claiming that its MTS internet service provides speed upto 9.8 Megabits per second (Mbps), saying the direction was not “unreasonable”.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru has given Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) four weeks time to comply with ASCI’s order which on 29th November had asked the telecom company to either suspend or modify, by December 10, its advertisement that its internet provides speeds of upto 9.8 Mbps.
ASCI had also held the MTS commercial as “misleading”. “The limited scope of judicial review is whether the stand taken by respondent (ASCI) is perverse or unreasonable. I am unable to accept that the decision of the ASCI fails the aforesaid tests.
“It is quite probable that any person who would read or view advertisements containing aforesaid claims, may not be able to assess or infer that such speeds are available only in ideal conditions…
“Therefore, the decision of ASCI calling upon the petitioners to modify its advertisement and/or to provide the necessary disclaimer cannot be said to be unreasonable or perverse,” the court has said in its December 15th order.
It has also directed ASCI to “examine and ensure that a uniform policy is followed” so that the same criteria that was used to hold the MTS commercial as misleading be applied for other service providers also.
The court issued this direction after SSTL contended that several other service providers are also issuing commercials disclosing their maximum speeds in ideal conditions by using the expression “upto”, just like it had.
The directions were issued by the court while disposing of the SSTL’s plea challenging the ASCI’s November 29th order.