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Misleading ads case: SC orders Ramdev, Balakrishna to appear in person

Patanjali Ayurved has faced scrutiny from the top court for disseminating misleading advertisements that claim to treat medical conditions, a violation of the Magic Remedies Act, 1954


Baba Ramdev

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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The Supreme Court has summoned Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna to appear personally in court for failing to respond to a show cause notice in contempt proceedings related to misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing Patanjali, argued that violation of the law was not contempt of court. However, the bench, comprising justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, passed the order for Ramdev to appear personally in the next hearing.

Notices were issued to Patanjali Ayurved and its managing director, Acharya Balkrishna, questioning their violation of court orders and warning of potential contempt proceedings. The bench remarked that Balkrishna and Ramdev were prima facie violating Sections 3 and 4 of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
The court's directive comes after its criticism of Patanjali Ayurved on February 27 for disseminating misleading advertisements. These advertisements claimed to treat medical conditions such as BP, diabetes, fevers, epilepsy, and lupus.

What is the misleading ads case against Patanjali?

In August 2022, the Supreme Court issued notice to Patanjali Ayurved Ltd after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) submitted a plea to the court alleging a smear campaign against vaccination drives and modern medicines by Baba Ramdev.

In November, the Supreme Court cautioned Patanjali Ayurved against disseminating "false" and "misleading" claims in its advertisements regarding the efficacy of its medicines in treating various ailments. The court had warned Patanjali that it could face fines of up to Rs 1 crore for misleading advertisements.

In the previous hearing, on February 27, the Supreme Court reprimanded the central government for its perceived inaction on matters concerning public health and safety, stating that "the entire country has been taken for a ride."

The bench also warned Patanjali Ayurved and its executives against issuing any media statements that criticise any system of medicine, in line with commitments made in November. 

At the time, the company was granted a three-week period to respond to the court, justifying why no action should be taken against it.

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First Published: Mar 19 2024 | 12:02 PM IST

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