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'Lip service, broke every barrier': Ramdev gets lashing from Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said that yoga guru's Patanjali Ayurved company owes an apology to the entire nation for its misleading ads


Nandini Singh New Delhi

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday told yoga guru Ramdev he had “broken every barrier” by violating its directives on misleading advertisements for Patanjali Ayurved's medicinal products and his apology was just “lip” service.

Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved managing director Acharya Balkrishna were in court to face contempt proceedings. "We are tendering an unconditional apology. He [Ramdev] is here personally present to apologise," Patanjali’s lawyer told the court.

However, the court dismissed it as mere "lip service" and asserted that Patanjali "owes an apology to the entire nation" for its misleading claims. "You have broken every barrier... Now you say that you are sorry," said the court.

The court also pulled up the government, saying had it turned a blind eye when Patanjali was publicly claiming that allopathy had no remedies for Covid-19. It granted a "last opportunity" to Ramdev and Balkrishna, asking them to file fresh affidavits within a week.

The court also warned them of perjury charges while noting that the documents submitted with the affidavit by Patanjali were created later. "This is a clear case of perjury. We are not closing the doors on you, but we are telling you all that we have noted," the court added.

Patanjali misleading ads case

In a previous hearing, the Supreme Court reprimanded Patanjali for not submitting replies to the court's notices regarding why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. This was in response to their prima facie violation of the undertaking given to the court.

The Supreme Court had expressed displeasure at Patanjali's ongoing publication of "false and misleading" advertisements on medicinal cures, despite committing to stop such practices.

A bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah had also issued a notice to Ramdev, asking him to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.

The apex court had also directed Patanjali to cease all advertisements of its products claiming to treat ailments and disorders specified in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

"How can you be in the teeth of our orders? We had our hands tied earlier but not now [with the initiation of contempt proceedings]," the court told senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Patanjali.

The Supreme Court made these remarks during the hearing of a plea by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) seeking action against Ramdev for his criticism of modern medicine.

After the Supreme Court rap, Patanjali issued an affidavit expressing an unconditional apology. The company stated that its intent was solely to encourage citizens to lead healthier lives by using its products.

In November 2023, the Supreme Court directed Patanjali Ayurved to stop making misleading claims and advertisements against modern medicine. Patanjali had assured the court that it would refrain from making any such statements or unsubstantiated claims.

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First Published: Apr 02 2024 | 4:33 PM IST

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