Airtel and Jio before Delhi High Court on IPL Advertisement

New Delhi: Telecom giant Bharti Airtel yesterday submitted before the Delhi High Court that it would modify its advertisement, which is being aired during the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Reliance Jio had approached the high court with a plea stating that the Airtel advertisement, which allegedly offered “live and free” access to Twenty-Twenty cricket coverage, was deliberately deceptive, misrepresenting and misleading.

Jio, represented by Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, stated that the deception and misrepresentation inherent in the advertisements are aimed at enticing and luring viewers to subscribe to Airtel’s telecom service and give preference to it over other telecom service providers in the market.

It was further submitted that the consequences of the advertisements will be wide-ranging and will impact a large number of unsuspecting subscribers, as well as have an unfair and undue adverse effect on other telecom service providers operating in India.

Representing Airtel, Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar submitted that Reliance Jio is a jealous competitor and elaborated that ‘free access’ mentioned in the advertisement meant free subscription of HOTSTAR network.  It was pointed out that the advertisement specifically states that if one intends to watch the game, one has to use data as per the plan adopted.

However, Nayar submitted that Airtel would include the following in its advertisement in bold letters-

the subscription of HOTSTAR shall only be free; and

the data charges will be as per subscriber’s tariff plan.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna directed that the said changes in the advertisements be made immediately. The matter will next be heard on May 8 before the Joint Registrar.

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