December, 2023 – Issue No. III

PREVENTION & REGULATION OF DARK PATTERNS, 2023

On 30-11-2023, the Central Consumer Protection Authority notified the Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023. The provisions came into force on 30-11-2023.

Dark Patterns means any practices or deceptive design pattern using user interface or user experience interactions on any platform that is designed to mislead or trick users to do something they originally did not want to do. This misleading is done by subverting or impairing consumer autonomy and decision making which amounts to misleading advertisement or unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights.

These Guidelines apply to: All platforms which offer systematic goods/ services in India; Advertisers; Sellers. Every person who is included in any platform is prohibited to engage in dark practices. In case of any ambiguity or dispute in interpretation the decision of Central Consumer Protection Authority will be final. In case any dark practice is regulated under any other law, the guidelines will be in addition to and not in derogation of other law. Annexure 1 contains illustrations of Specified Dark Patterns: False Urgency; Basket sneaking; Confirm shaming; Forced Action; Subscription trap; Interface interference; Bait and switch; Drip pricing; Disguised advertisement; Nagging; Trick question; Rogue Malwares.

LIST OF TOUTS

On 8-12-2023, the Ministry of Law and Justice notified the Advocates (Amendment) Act, 2023 to amend the Advocates Act, 1961.

Section 45-A has been inserted relating to the power to frame and publish the list of touts. Any judge of High Court, District Judge, Sessions Judge, District Magistrate and Revenue Officer, above the rank of Collector of a district, can frame and publish the lists of proved touts by evidence of general repute or being a habitual tout. Any person will be included in this list only after being given an opportunity to show cause against such inclusion. Any authority who is eligible to frame and publish the list can send the name of any person alleged or suspected to be a tout to any subordinate court and on receiving such list, the subordinate will hold an inquiry into the conduct of that person. After giving an opportunity of showing cause, the subordinate court will submit its report to the Authority. The Court or Judge can remove any person’s name from such list. Any person proved to be a tout and his name is on the list, will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 3 months or with fine of Rs.500 or both.

On the date of enforcement of Section 45-A, the following Sections of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 will be repealed-
Section 1 – Short title
Section 3 – Interpretation- clause
Section 36 – Power to frame and publish lists of touts.

Note: ““Tout” means a person – (i) who procures, in consideration of any remuneration moving from any legal practitioner, the employment of the legal practitioner in any legal business; or who proposes to any legal practitioner or to any person interested in any legal business to procure, in consideration of any remuneration moving from either of them, the employment of the legal practitioner in such business; or (ii) who for the purposes of such procurement frequents the precincts of Civil or Criminal Courts or of revenue-offices, or railway stations, landing stages, lodging places or other places of public resort”.

The Indian Tax Advisors