‘Not off the hook’: Supreme Court to Patanjali founders Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna : The Tribune India

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‘Not off the hook’: Supreme Court to Patanjali founders Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna

Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna tender apologies

‘Not off the hook’: Supreme Court to Patanjali founders Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna

Ramdev arrives at the Supreme Court for hearing on Tuesday. PTI

Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, April 16

Facing contempt of court proceedings for publication of “misleading” advertisements, Patanjali Ayurved co-founders Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna on Tuesday tendered unconditional apologies in person with folded hands to the Supreme Court, which said they were “not off the hook” even as it agreed to consider their apologies. A Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, which had on April 10 refused to accept their affidavits of “unconditional” apologies, asked the duo to appear before it again on April 23 when it will decide the next course of action. “We are not saying we will forgive you. We can’t be blind to your history… We will think about your apology. You are not so innocent that you were completely unaware of what was going on…” the Bench said after having a brief interaction with both Ramdev and Balkrishna.

The duo also assured the Bench that “they will be careful in future and not violate the orders of the court or the undertaking given to the court or violate the provisions of law”.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, who represented the yoga guru and Patanjali Ayurved managing director Balkrishna, suggested that the proposed contemnors would publish public apology in newspapers.

Rohatgi submitted that “to redeem themselves and demonstrate their bona fides, they (Ramdev and Balkrishna) propose to take some steps unilaterally”. He requested for a week’s time to revert on this aspect.

However, while dictating the order, the Bench left it to Ramdev and Balkrishna to publish such a public apology or to take some other steps unilaterally on their own initiative to prove their bona fides.

“At this moment, we are not saying they’re off the hook… We will decide what to do,” the Bench told Rohtagi.

As Ramdev tried to explain his position and said Patanjali Ayurved had done a lot of research, the Bench told him that he did not have any right to denigrate allopathy or any other medicine system.

At one point the Bench took exception to Balkrishna’s statement that Ramdev had nothing to do with the case, saying: “You are trying to justify it”.

While hearing Indian Medical Association’s petition seeking to control the alleged smear campaign and negative advertisements against the Covid-19 vaccination drive and modern medicines, the Bench had earlier noted that prima facie the company has violated the November 21, 2023 undertaking given to the top court.

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