In its continuous endeavour to strengthen the professional and ethical standards in the advertising industry and ensure responsible advertising and thereby protect the interests of the consumers, The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has introduced an “Independent Review Process”. This procedure facilitates an independent mechanism to review the recommendations made by Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) if either the advertiser or the complainant is dissatisfied with such recommendations.
The new Independent Review Process will have a Chairman, who will be a retired Judge of the Honourable Supreme Court/High Court, assisted by the Secretary General/Chief Complaints Officer, along with the Chairman or Co-chairman who was involved in the CCC recommendation and a Technical Expert, where necessary. Currently, Justice Mukul Mudgal (Retd. Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana, High Court) has been appointed by the self-regulatory organisation as the Chairman for all Independent Review Process cases henceforth.
ASCI has been rapidly progressing on various initiatives for upholding self-regulation in advertising, safeguarding consumers’ interest and partnering with various Government bodies in restraining misleading advertisements. This has led to a substantial increase in ASCI’s responsibilities and work load. In this background, ASCI appoints Dr. CBS Venkataramana, IAS (Retd.), as the Chief Complaints Officer (CCO), who will play a vital role in driving efficient complaint redressal and 360 degree stakeholder interactions. Serving as an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer for about 33 years, Dr. Venkataramana has undertaken several important assignments at the State Govt. and Central Govt. level. In his role as the CCO, Dr. Venkataramana will be responsible for managing complaint lodging, investigation, redressal and follow up processes for effective compliance of ASCI codes.
Commenting on these initiatives, ASCI’s Chairman, Mr Srinivasan K. Swamy said, “ASCI is constantly evolving and seeking effective measures to enable self-regulation in advertising and compliance to ASCI codes. The inclusion of the Independent Review Process mechanism creates transparency for both advertiser and complainant in further facilitating fair judgement of complaints. Further, the appointment of Dr. Venkataramana will go a long way in ensuring speedier and more effective complaint redressal process.”