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Misleading ad case: Ramdev, Balkrishna tender 'unconditional' apology to SC

Patanjali Ayurved founder Ramdev and MD Balkrishna have submitted affidavits offering 'unconditional, unqualified' apologies to the Supreme Court



Rimjhim Singh New Delhi

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Patanjali Ayurved's founder, Ramdev, and managing director (MD) Balkrishna have submitted affidavits to the Supreme Court, offering "unconditional, unqualified" apologies.

According to a report in The Economic Times, the duo said that they would comply with the order in letter and spirit and uphold the majesty of law and the majesty of justice. The SC is expected to deliver its final decision on the matter on Wednesday.

In the earlier hearing, the court had rejected the apology from yoga guru Ramdev and the firm's managing director Acharya Balkrishna over putting out misleading advertisements.

The Bench, headed by Justice Hima Kohli, had also questioned the Centre's inaction over Patanjali's claims about the efficacy of its products and denigrating allopathy during the Covid-19 peak. The Bench further said it was taking their apology with a "sack full of salt". The Bench warned Patanjali, Ramdev, and Balkrishna that it would take note of "perjury" as certain documents, which were said to be attached with other papers, were created later on.

The court stated: "This is a clear case of perjury. We are not closing the doors on you but we are telling all that we have noted."

According to the ET report, on November 21 last year, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd assured the top court that it would not violate any law, especially those relating to advertising or branding of the products manufactured and marketed by it. It also assured the Bench that "no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any form".

The top court had said Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is "bound down to such assurance".

On Tuesday, the apex court disapproved Balkrishna's statement that the Drugs and Cosmetics (Magic Remedies) Act is "archaic" and Patanjali Ayurved's advertisements were in the "teeth of the Act" and violated the undertaking given to the court with impunity.

The Bench warned Ramdev and Balkrishna to be ready to face the consequences. "Your apology is not persuading this court really to accept it. We think it is more of a lip service," Justice Kohli said.

Justice Kohli said, "You have to abide by the undertaking given to the court. The purpose of contempt is to make a person realise that the majesty of the law is above all."

In response to the court's statements, senior advocate Vipin Sanghi, the counsel representing Patanjali, said the media department of the company was unaware of the fact that the top court had restrained it from continuing with advertisements or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it which are meant to cure diseases, according to the ET report.

"Mr Sanghi, once it is a court proceeding and there are specific undertakings given by you to the court. Whose duty is to convey it to the entire chain down the line?" Justice Kohli asked.

The Bench said the undertaking has to be abided by in letter and spirit.

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First Published: Apr 10 2024 | 10:23 AM IST

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