Supreme Court reserves order on contempt notice issued to Ramdev, Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved in ads case

The Court has also expressed its unhappiness about an apology furnished by IMA president R.V. Asokan for his remarks in a media interview criticising the court about remarks it made against doctors in private practice.

Updated - May 14, 2024 09:20 pm IST

Published - May 14, 2024 01:51 pm IST - New Delhi

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna. File

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment in contempt proceedings against yoga guru Baba Ramdev, his close associate Acharya Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, the company they co-founded, for defying a court undertaking to not publish misleading advertisements of their herbal products in violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act.

A Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah was informed by senior advocate Balbir Singh, appearing for Patanjali, that the original newspaper cuttings of the public apologies issued by the trio have been filed in court. The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority, under fire from the court for years of official apathy and neglect paving the way for the easy peddling of these products to a gullible public, woke up to suspend the manufacturing of 14 Patanjali products.

However, the court enquired about stocks out in the market on the shelves of retail and wholesale outlets. It directed Patanjali to file an affidavit in three weeks, detailing steps taken to recall the stock from its retailers and agencies.

The Bench had made it clear that the objectionable and misleading advertisements issued by Patanjali, and endorsed by Ramdev, to cure everything from diabetes, obesity to liver dysfunction and even COVID-19 during the months of pandemic were “deliberate and willful violations” of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954 and its Rules.

The top court had initiated contempt proceedings against Patanjali and Balkrishna on February 27 for violating an undertaking given to it in November 2023 that they would refrain from advertising “cures” in violation of the 1954 Act. On November 21 last year, the top court had directed the company to not make any “casual statements” to the print or electronic media about the efficacy of their medicinal products or indulge in any disparaging statements about other disciplines of medicine like allopathy. However, the very next day, Ramdev held a press conference.

On Tuesday, the Bench expressed its unhappiness about an apology furnished by Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Dr. R.V. Asokan for his remarks in a media interview criticising the court about remarks it made against doctors in private practice.

In a turning of tables, Patanjali had filed an application accusing Mr. Asokan, who heads the organisation which brought the Ayurveda company and Ramdev to court, of contempt.

In his interview, Mr. Asokan had reportedly said it was “unfortunate” for the court to have criticised the IMA. He had said the “vague and generalised statements” of the court had demoralised private doctors.

“Dr. Asokan, with your experience, we would have expected more sense of responsibility from you,” Justice Kohli told the senior doctor who was present in the courtroom.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.