Supreme Court slaps contempt notices on Ramdev's Patanjali for misleading ads : The Tribune India

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Supreme Court slaps contempt notices on Ramdev's Patanjali for misleading ads

Supreme Court slaps contempt notices on Ramdev's Patanjali for misleading ads

Ramdev



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, February 27

The Supreme Court on Tuesday restrained, till further orders, yoga guru Ramdev-founded Patanjali Ayurved from advertising or branding products meant for treating medical conditions. The SC also issued contempt notices against the company, as well as its Managing Director, Acharya Balakrishna, for violating an assurance given to it in November 2023.

While hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association seeking to control the alleged smear campaign and negative advertisements against the Covid-19 vaccination drive and modern medicines, a Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah noted that prima facie the company had violated the undertaking given to the top court.

“The entire country has been taken for a ride. You wait for two years when the Act says this (misleading advertisements) is prohibited,” Justice Amanullah told Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, who said it was for the concerned states to take action under the Act.

“You (Patanjali) have flouted this (November 2023) order… You have the courage and guts to come up with this advertisement even after the Supreme Court’s order… We are going to pass a very strict order now,” the Bench told senior advocate Vipin Sanghi, who represented Patanjali Ayurved.

“Prima facie, this court is of the opinion that respondent number five (Patanjali Ayurved) is in violation of the undertaking given and recorded in an order passed on November 21, 2023,” the Bench said. It asked why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against the company and its managing director.

As Patanjali Ayurved counsel sought time to respond to the contempt notice, the Bench posted the matter for hearing on March 19.

It cautioned Patanjali Ayurved and its officials against making statements in print or electronic media against any system of medicine in any form, as undertaken by the company in November 2023. The Bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit explaining the action taken under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, against the company for its alleged misleading advertisements.

Referring to the advertisement and transcript of a press conference by the company in which certain statements were allegedly made about efficacy of their products, even after the November 2023 order, senior counsel PS Patwalia submitted on behalf of IMA that it demonstrated Patanjali Ayurved was continuing to make “incorrect assertions and misrepresentation” in respect of its products in the market by describing them as permanent solution to such ailments, which had been specifically listed in the Schedule of the Act.

Patanjali Ayurved counsel had on November 21, 2023 assured the court that “henceforth there shall not be any violation of any law(s), especially relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it and, further, that no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any form”.

Court’s warning

You (Patanjali) have flouted this (November 2023) order…You have the courage to come up with this advertisement even after the Supreme Court’s order… We are going to pass a very strict order now. —SC Bench

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