Cricket ad drags Pepsi to court

Published: Friday, October 8, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Hyderabad:An Indian court has ordered that a Pepsi ad showing a boy serving drinks to the national cricket team be taken off air after a rights activist filed suit alleging the commercial shows child labour.

The court in the southern city of Hyderabad said no advertisement should be televised "depicting or glorifying child labour ... until further orders," according to a court document received by AFP Friday.

The advertisement shows the Indian team in a huddle celebrating the fall of a wicket when a child carrying a tray of Pepsi pops up from an underground tunnel.

Among those named in the suit are Pepsi India, Sony Entertainment Television, Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar, the Advertisement Standards Council of India and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The court has issued notices saying all those named or their counsels should appear for a legal hearing but no date has been set, a court official said.

"We've not asked for any damages but we want Pepsi and the BCCI to withdraw this ad," said veteran child rights activist Uma Mamidipudi, who filed the suit. "Child labour is a social evil."

Mamidipudi told AFP she expected the hearing to take place in the first week of November.

An official of US-based PepsiCo declined immediate comment Friday, saying the company wished to study the legal documents.

Sony Entertainment Television said it had not received any legal notice.

But Sony Entertainment chief executive officer Kunal Dasgupta said the suit's allegation that the commercial showed child labour was "a very wild connection to make."

"If you ask my personal opinion, it's the child who is acting like a 12th man," he said, referring to the person who carries drinks and towels for players.

BCCI and others named in the suit could not be reached immediately for reaction.

Indian law prohibits children below the age of 14 from working. But human rights groups estimate that up to 120 million children work for a living.

Write Comments