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SC reserves order on contempt notice to Baba Ramdev in misleading ads case

Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved also served notice in Patanjali misleading ads case


New Delhi: Patanjali Ayurved co-founder Baba Ramdev arrives to appear before the Supreme Court, in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its decision on a contempt notice against yoga guru Ramdev, his associate Balkrishna and their company Patanjali Ayurved in the misleading advertisements case.

"Orders on the contempt notice issued to respondents 5 to 7 (Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Balkrishna, and Ramdev) are reserved," said a bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, stated.

The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority (SLA) has told the court that manufacturing licenses for 14 products of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd and Divya Pharmacy have been "suspended immediately."

The Supreme Court said the counsel representing the firm had requested time to submit an affidavit detailing the actions taken to retract the advertisements of Patanjali products and to recall the medicines.

"Public awareness plays a crucial role; informed choices are made when people have options... Baba Ramdev wields significant influence; it should be employed responsibly," it said.

The court is awaiting an affidavit from Patanjali which outlines the measures implemented to withdraw the existing misleading advertisements of the company's products, according to Bar and Bench website.

The bench instructed that the affidavit be submitted within three weeks.

IMA President apologises to court

During the proceedings, Indian Medical Association (IMA) President R V Asokan extended an unconditional apology to the bench for his remarks made against the top court in a recent interview with news agency PTI, addressing questions regarding the Patanjali Ayurved's misleading advertisements case.

"Public figures cannot criticise the court in media interviews," Justice Kohli conveyed to Asokan.

The bench conveyed to the IMA's counsel that, for now, the court was disinclined to accept the apology affidavit submitted by the IMA president.

In an earlier hearing on May 7, the apex court had denounced the statements made by Asokan as "very, very unacceptable."

The court said last week celebrities and social media influencers were "equally liable" for the products they endorse, and if such products are found to be misleading, they could face repercussions.

The case pertains to a plea filed in 2022 by the IMA alleging a smear campaign by Patanjali against the Covid-19 vaccination drive and modern medical systems.

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First Published: May 14 2024 | 1:45 PM IST

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