Patanjali Ayurved tenders unconditional apology in Supreme Court

Baba Ramdev
Baba Ramdev

New Delhi | Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved has tendered an unqualified apology to the Supreme Court for advertising the herbal products of the firm claiming their medicinal efficacy in treating several serious diseases and running down other systems of medicine.

The top court had on March 19 directed yoga guru Ramdev and Balkrishna to appear before it on April 2, after taking exception to the company's failure to respond to notice issued in the contempt proceedings relating to advertisements of the firm's products and their medicinal efficacy.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. had assured the top court on November 21, 2023 that it will not violate any law, especially the laws relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it.

The firm had also assured the bench headed by Justice Hima Kohli 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 that Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. is “bound down to such assurance”.

“The Deponent (Balkrishna) has the highest regards for the rule of law and is duty bound to follow the letter of the law. The Deponent regrets the advertisement in question,” Balkrishna said in the affidavit.

“The Deponent on behalf of Respondent No. 5 (Patanjali) submits an unqualified apology before this Hon'ble Court for the breach of the statement recorded in Para 3 of the order dated November 21, 2023,” the affidavit, filed on March 19, said.

Balkrishna said he will ensure that such advertisements are not issued in the future.

The affidavit, however, said the intention of the firm was only to exhort the citizens of this country to lead a healthier life by consuming Patanjali products.

“Respondent No. 5 Company (Patanjali) now possesses evidence-based scientific data with clinical research conducted in Ayurveda, which would demonstrate the advances made through scientific research in the context of diseases.... In light of the same it is humbly submitted that the Deponent's only quest is for a better and healthier life for each and every citizen...,” the affidavit said.

The top court, while coming down hard on Patanjali, Ramdev and Balkrishna, said the advertisements were in the teeth of the undertaking given to the court on November 21, 2023 and reflected an endorsement by the yoga guru.

The court directed them to personally appear before it at the next hearing.

"In view of the facts and circumstances, it is deemed appropriate to direct the presence of the managing director of respondent no. 5 on the next date of hearing.

"Further, having gone through the advertisements issued by respondent 5 (Patanjali Ayurved) in the teeth of the undertaking given to this court on November 21, 2023 and on noticing that the said advertisements reflect an endorsement thereof by Acharya Ramdev, it is deemed appropriate to issue notice to show cause as to why contempt of court proceedings be not initiated against him in view of the fact that this court is of the prima facie opinion that he has also violated the provisions of section 3 and 4 of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act'," it had said.

Section 3 of the Act refers to prohibition of advertisement of some medicines for treatment of certain diseases and medical disorders, while Section 4 refers to prohibition of misleading advertisements relating to drugs.

The top court is hearing a plea of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) alleging a smear campaign by Ramdev against the Covid vaccination drive and modern system of medicine.

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