Ramdev, Balkrishna tender apologies ‘in person' with folded hands; Supreme Court says ‘you are not off the hook’ : The Tribune India

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Ramdev, Balkrishna tender apologies ‘in person' with folded hands; Supreme Court says ‘you are not off the hook’

A Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah – which had earlier refused to accept their ‘unconditional’ apologies -- asks them to appear in person again on April 23

Ramdev, Balkrishna tender apologies ‘in person' with folded hands; Supreme Court says ‘you are not off the hook’

Ramdev, who also interacted with the bench, said he had no intention to show disrespect to the court in any manner.



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 in person 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 during which Patanjali Ayurved co-founders apologised to the court for the lapses on their part.

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 Yog guru and Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director Balkrishna -- suggested that the proposed contemnors would publish a 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 that Patanjali Ayurved had done lots 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.

On November 22, 2023, Ramdev had held a press conference in Haridwar and the company had issued an advertisement on December 4, 2023, alleged violation of the November 21, 2023, undertaking.

The top court had on April 10 refused to accept “unconditional” apologies tendered by Ramdev and Balkrishna over publication of “misleading” advertisements, saying they deliberately violated its orders and tendered apologies only after being “caught on the wrong foot”.

It had also pulled up the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for its inaction on misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved and Divya Pharmacy and asked two of their officials to file affidavits explaining their conduct. 

“We will rip you apart,” Justice Amanullah had told the officials, warning them that it will not take the matter lightly. However, the strong comments from Justice Amanullah were disapproved of by many retired judges.

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