Reliance Jio Moves SC Against Delhi HC Breather to Bharti Airtel Over IPL Ad Campaign

Reliance Jio Infocomm on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court last week’s order that gave a partial breather to its rival Bharti Airtel over the latter’s disputed ‘T20 Live and Free’ advertisement campaign in television, print and outdoor media, promising live and free coverage of the IPL cricket matches on its network. A Bench posted the matter for hearing on Friday after RJio sought urgent hearing in the case.

RJio had in April moved the HC alleging that the Airtel’s advertisement was misleading and deceptive as it failed to inform consumers about the hidden cost of data usage. However, Airtel said its ads indeed mention that “data consumption will be charged as per the existing plan”. The single judge on May 2 asked Airtel to make the disclaimer in a bigger type size, using font of 12 pixels in print media and that too in a prominent and visible place. Even the disclaimer in bill boards and hoardings was also ordered to be at prominent place. For television and video ads, the judge asked Airtel to start its disclaimer “from the word the girl in the advertisement says ‘seasonal pass….’, in sync with the voice over”.

Even earlier on April 13, the single judge had asked Airtel to carry a disclaimer in bold stating that under its ‘live and free access offer’ only subscription to video streaming platform Hotstar would be free and data charges according to the subscriber’s plan would apply.

However, the Division Bench, on Airtel’s appeal, modified its single judge’s interim order by asking Airtel to carry a disclaimer of a larger font size in a prominent and visible place only in print ads, and not in videos or hoardings.

The HC also questioned the maintainability of the RJio’s suit complaining that Airtel’s advertisement was “deceptive and misleading”.– Financial Express

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