Classified advertising booking Important Do's and Don’ts

Personal Advertising

  1. Missing Persons
    A copy of the FIR filed with the local police station must accompany the classified advertisement.
  2. Change of Name/Religion
    A photocopy of the affidavit or a copy of the gazette featuring the change in name must accompany the classified advertisement.
  3. Notice related to Wedding in Foreign country
    The consent letter of the respective embassy/high commission/consulate must accompany the classified advertisement.
  4. Marriage Cancellation
    Advertisements must be supported by wedding invitation cards along with a declaration regarding the cancellation of the wedding, duly signed by both parties.
  5. Death/Obituary Ads
    A copy of the death certificate from a registered doctor must accompany all obituary classified advertisements.

The following should be avoided in the case of Obituary advertisements as being part of the ad matter:

  • Cause of death
    stating specific a reason of death, like "an accident" cannot be done.
  • Obituary advertisements cannot be used as a medium for addressing grievances - e.g. dowry, medical negligence by doctor/hospital.
  • In case of Remembrance advertisements, although ceremonies/prayer meeting timings are not allowed, telephone numbers and addresses can form part of the advertisement.

Massage Parlour Advertising (*conditions apply)

Contents/words/adjectives similar to the following are not acceptable in classified ads:

  • Sexy, Hot, Mind-blowing, extremely beautiful masseurs 3 and 5 stars, providing elegant gals and guys from high-profile culture, warm touch, golden touch and heaven on earth, restart your energy with unexpected and/or sensational massage etc. All massage parlour-related ads will be published under the "Massage Parlours" heading.

Guidelines for Massage Parlour ads to be published in Mumbai:

  • Ads of massage/beauty parlour, party entertainer, escorts, social contact club and all related headers must carry the complete postal address and landline telephone numbers. Such ads must be accompanied by a copy of the latest landline telephone bills containing the matching telephone number and business address.

Astrology Advertising

All ad matter must be elementary/non-specific in nature and mention about palmistry, gemmology or Reiki only. Such promises as "magical recovery", "definite results", “solving all problems” and/or “100% guaranteed results” are not acceptable. Similarly, terms like “amazing remedies”, “evil spirits”, “black magic/Tantrik, guaranteed results”, childlessness”, “marriage”, “divorce”, “career”, “prosperity”, “business”, “love”, “finance”, “all problems solved” are not acceptable.

Medical Services Advertising

  • In ads promoting drugs for treatment and assuring the cure, definite treatment terms like '100% guaranteed results', 'solving problems' or 'magical recovery', (chamatkar, chhuktara payen, pucca ilaz) are not accepted. Medicine ads depicting objectionable pictures, ads of penillure, ads recommending medicine on promoting sexual potency and relevant pleasures with words like 'Turant ilaz' and 'Zordar Sakhti', or “baldness will be cured in only 'x' no. of days” are not allowed.
  • Hindi words/sentences which are derogatory and/or reflect indecency are not allowed.

Overseas Appointment Ads

The following rules and regulations prescribed by the notification from the Ministry of Labour, Government of India, are to be strictly followed:

As per Section 16 of the Emigration Act, 1983, no employer can recruit any citizen of India for employment in any country or place outside India except:

  • Through a bona fide recruiting agent competent under the Act to make such recruitment, or
  • In accordance with a valid permit issued in this behalf. Thus, only registered recruiting agents and foreign employers with valid permit are allowed to recruit Indian citizens for overseas employment.

It is mandatory for the registered recruiting agents that they display their registration certificate numbers while placing recruitment advertisements. Similarly, foreign employers need to also indicate their permit number while placing advertisements.

Recruitment Advertisement requisites

All advertisements from recruiting agents/firms must incorporate the registration number and postal address of the agent.

In the case of foreign employers, all advertisements must carry the name and postal address of the employer. In case the client requires confidentiality in the ad, all the relevant details (name, address, phone number) on the original letterhead/document of the client are required. This is purpose of furnishing the same in case of an inquiry from the government agencies.

In case the advertisements have been placed by the HR consultants who refuse to provide details of their clients because of reasons of confidentiality, such cases must be ratified from the legal department in Delhi or Mumbai.


  • Discount for Senior Citizens
  • Discount for Widow/Widower
  • Discount for Differently Disabled
  • Discount for "Caste/Religion No Bar" in Matrimonial Ads
  • Discount for "No Dowry" in Matrimonial Ads
  • Discount for Charitable Institutions

Such ads can be booked through the ABS system. However, the discount will be credited once the ad gets published the following documents are needed:

  • Senior citizen age discount - age proof to be provided
  • Widow / Widower discount – death certificate of expired spouse to be provided
  • Differently abled discount – doctor's certificate to be provided

Libelous advertisements

Advertisements which have defamatory statement/s against anyone or photograph of someone without the written consent of that person will not be accepted. It is essential that the consent is obtained in writing as a proof to be furnished when required.

The following cannot be considered as classified advertisements

  • Ads inviting donors of kidney or any other body organ.
  • Property address or house number in property sale ads.
  • Website addresses of recruitment/job portals/placement agents/automobiles/matrimonials etc., cannot be included in a classified advertisement.
  • The word "Donation" cannot be used in the text of the ad.
  • Phrases like "Caste no bar except SC/ST" or "Dowry no bar" etc. cannot be carried.
  • Private institutions/universities cannot ask for money for their prospectus except govt./semi-govt. and recognized institutes/universities.
  • Words like "100% guarantee" etc. should be avoided in all ads.
  • Ads cannot ask “Send Rs. 5 stamp along with self-addressed envelope”, "Earn 30,000+ monthly by just working 2 hours at home. Only paper work” or “For details rush your self-addressed Rs. 5 stamped long envelope to XYZ Box No..
  • .”
  • Advertising with words "Invitation Price/Pricing" is the copyright of The Times of India.
  • Ads displaying non-vegetarian products, as well as ads seeking models, singers, actors etc., asking for money, are not acceptable as classified advertisements and must be strictly avoided.
  • Ads referring to "Party Line" or related dubious phone-service businesses must be avoided.
  • Unethical or illegal ads offending public sensitivity, should be avoided.
  • For advertisements of lottery other than state government lotteries must ensure that at least one state government is involved as one of the sponsors of such lottery.
  • Ads appearing unethical, illegal or offending public sensitivity cannot be accepted.
  • "VISA 100 %" is not acceptable.
  • No ad carrying the name of a particular community which hurts that particular community or even brings disrepute to them can be accepted.

Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954

Advertisement of a drug which indicates or is calculated to lead to the use of that drug for:

  • the facilitates miscarriage in women or prevents conception in women; or
  • the maintenance or improvement of the capacity of human beings for sexual pleasure; or
  • the relief from menstrual disorders

The following types of advertising are not allowed by the above Act:

  • Advertisement of drugs for treatment of diseases and disorders such as asthma, appendicitis, arteriosclerosis, blindness, blood poisoning, Bright's disease, cancer, cataract, deafness, diabetes, diseases and disorders of brain / optical system / uterus / menstrual flow / nervous system or prostate gland, dropsy, epilepsy, fits, female diseases, fevers (in general) forms and structure of human bust, stones in gall / kidney / bladder, gangrene, glaucoma, heart diseases, high or low blood pressure, hydrocele, hysteria, infantile paralysis, insanity, leprosy, leucoderma, lockjaw, locomotor ataxia, lupus, nervous debility, obesity, paralysis, plague, pleurisy, pneumonia, rheumatism, ruptures, sexual impotence, small pox, stature of person, sterility in women, trachoma, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid fever, ulcers of gastro-intestinal tract and venereal dieases including syphilis, gonorrhea, soft chancre, venereal granuloma and lymphogranuloma.
  • Miscarriage in women or prevention of conception in women.
  • Correction of disorders by magic
  • Drugs that give false impression and make false claims or are otherwise false or misleading.

Other Important rules for classified advertising

The following are a few important Acts that have to be considered

  • Infant milk substitutes – Regulation of Production, Supply & Distribution Act, 1992: Advertisements propagating infant milk substitutes, including feeding bottles and infant foods are not eligible for publishing.
  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 – Certificate of approval from govt. is a necessary document for hospital and clinics advertising medical termination of pregnancy.
  • The Prize Competitions Act 1955 – Ads relating to prize competition whether called a crossword prize competition, missing-word prize, or a picture prize competition are not eligible for publishing.
  • The Prize Chits & Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act 1978 – 'Prize chit' or 'money circulation scheme' which are in the nature of gambling are not eligible for publishing.
  • Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products – Ads of cigarettes and other tobacco products are prohibited. This includes cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, beedis, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, pan masala or any chewing material, having tobacco as one of its ingredients, gutkas and tooth powder containing tobacco.
  • Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 – Ads of edible oil and fat cannot include expressions like: 'Super-Refined', 'Extra-Refined', ' Micro-Refined', 'Double-Refined', ' Ultra-Refined', 'Anti-Cholesterol', 'Cholesterol Fighter', 'Shooting to Heart', 'Cholesterol Friendly', 'Saturated Fat Free' or such expressions which exaggerate the quality of the product.
  • Prohibition of Sex Determination: Any preconception or prenatal diagnostic technique used for sex determination of a foetus.
  • The Indecent Representation Of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986: Ads containing indecent depiction of the figure of a woman are not eligible for publishing.
  • Contempt of Court by Advertisement: An advertisement may constitute contempt of court if it interferes with the due course of a pending judicial proceeding, for instance, by discouraging witnesses from giving evidence in the case for either party, or to influence the court by discussing the merits of the case or anticipating the decision. Such ads are not eligible for publishing.
  • State Laws: Provisions of various state acts, applicable in respective states, prohibit publication of advertisements relating to liquor, tobacco etc. should be considered before publication of advertisements.
  • For instance, the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949, prohibits publication of advertisements of liquor and alcoholic beverages, and the Bombay Lotteries (Control & Tax) Act prohibits advertisements of lotteries other than state lotteries.

The following is not eligible of publishing

  • The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950 – Ads carrying an outdated/ erroneous map of India or national emblem – viz, Ashoka Chakra or Dharma Chakra, Lion, National Flag, National Bird etc.
  • Superimposed matter on a map or incomplete map in any respect, such ads should carry in fine print the following disclaimer – “This pictorial representation of map of India does not purport to be the political map of India” (which is not in conformity with the maps of India as published by Survey of India)
  • Ads carrying National Flag, emblem, name or official seal of the Govt. of India, President, Governor, Republic / Union of India, Bharat Scouts and Guides, Tuberculosis Association of India etc.
  • Name, emblem or official seal of the United Nations Organization, World Health Organization, UNESCO, Unicef, World Meteorological Organisation, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Criminal Police Organisation, International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Olympic Committee consisting of five interlaced rings etc.
  • The world “Interpol” which is an integral part of the International Criminal Police Organisation.
  • Ad carrying reproduction of a postage stamp or currency note.
  • The emblem of the St. John Ambulance Association (India), and the St. John Ambulance Brigade (India) consisting of the device of a white, eight-pointed cross embellished in the four principal angles alternatively with a lion passant quadrant and a unicorn passant, whether or not the device is surrounded or accompanied by concentric circle or other decoration or by lettering.

Any name which may suggest being

  • The patronage of the Government of India or the State Government.
  • Connection with any local authority / corporation / government body under any law for the time being in force.

Any name of pictorial representation of

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Gandhi or Prime Minister of India.
  • The name of Parliament or legislature of any State / Supreme Court / State High Court / Central Secretariat / any govt. office or pictorial representation of any of these institutions.
  • The medals, badges or decorations instituted by the Govt. from time to time or the miniatures / replicas / names of the above mentioned.

The following do not from part of Tender & Public Notice Category

  • Allottees list by housing development authorities.
  • Housing schemes results (LIG, MIG, HIG).
  • General display with mention of schemes, results etc.
  • Registration of houses.
  • Allotment of houses and industrial plots.
  • Registration of industrial plots for allotment.
  • Sale of application forms for housing schemes.
  • Registration for housing scheme starts from xyz date.
  • Registration closes on x date.
  • Draws of allottees.
  • Empanelment of dealers at various locations by oil companies like IOC, BPCL etc.
  • Requirement of dealers at various locations by oil companies.
  • Bank or any office change of address notice.