News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » SC slams Ramdev, Balkrishna; rejects apology over Patanjali misleading ads

SC slams Ramdev, Balkrishna; rejects apology over Patanjali misleading ads

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: April 10, 2024 18:26 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept the affidavits of yoga guru Ramdev and his close aide Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved tendering unconditional apologies for publishing "misleading" advertisements, asserting the court doesn't want to be "so generous" as they were issued after the duo was caught with their "back against the wall".

IMAGE: Yog guru Ramdev leaves the Supreme Court after appearing in the misleading advertisement case filed against the Patanjali Ayurveda, in New Delhi. Photograph: Amit Sharma/ANI Photo

The apex court also came down hard on the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for its inaction on the issue and said it is not going to take it lightly as the authority appeared to have kept its "eyes shut deliberately".

"We will rip you apart," a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah told the counsel representing the authority in an unusually stern reprimand.


The top court observed that after the notices to show cause were issued to Ramdev and Balkrishna, they "attempted to wriggle out" of their personal appearance before the court which is "most unacceptable".

"Having regard to the entire history of the matter and the past conduct of the contemnors…, we have expressed our reservations about accepting the latest affidavit filed by them," the bench said while dictating the order in the courtroom.

The court fixed the matter for resumed hearing on April 16.

Reproaching the authority, the top court said it was "appalled to note that except for pushing the files", the competent authority within the office of State Licensing Authority did nothing and was in "deep slumber" over the issue for four-five years.

The bench, which interacted with the joint director of the authority during the hearing, said he should have acted in accordance with law. It said his predecessor will file an affidavit explaining the inaction on his part during his tenure.

The bench also directed that the district Ayurvedic and Unani officers, Haridwar, who were posted there from 2018 till date, shall also file affidavits explaining the inaction on their part.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ramdev and Balkrishna, referred to the affidavits filed by them tendering unconditional and unqualified apology.

"The apologies that are on record are on paper. We think that having been caught on the wrong foot and noticing that their back is actually against the wall and having gone to town saying all kind of things on the very next day of the order passed where your counsel had given undertaking, we don't accept this affidavit," the bench said.

"We decline to accept or condone it. We consider it a wilful and deliberate violation of the order and the breach of the undertaking… We decline to accept this affidavit," it said.

When Rohatgi said people do make mistakes, the bench retorted, telling him then they suffer the consequences.

"We don't want to be so generous in this case," the top court said.

The bench observed it is not convinced with the affidavits filed by Ramdev and Balkrishna.

"We are wondering why should we not treat your apologies with the same disdain that you showed to your undertaking and the orders of this court," Justice Kohli said.

The bench, which perused the affidavits filed by the state licensing authority, said it wanted to ask the authority several questions.

"You are the executing authority under the Act 'Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act'. What did you do? What did you wait for? For us to prod you," the bench asked the authority's counsel.

It said the Centre had clearly told the state authority in 2020 to stop objectionable advertisements.

The bench asked why should the officer of the licensing authority and district Ayurvedic and Unani officer be not suspended for their inaction.

When the authority's counsel referred to the bona fide of its officers, an anguished bench said, "Bona fide, you say? We will rip you apart on bona fide. We will rip you apart."

"Why should we not think that you were in cahoots with the contemnor respondents and you were keeping your eyes shut deliberately?" the bench asked.

At the fag end of the hearing, Rohatgi said they were prepared to issue a public apology.

"We will deal with it," the bench said before dictating the order.

Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an "unconditional and unqualified apology" before the apex court over advertisements issued by the firm making tall claims about the medicinal efficacy of its products.

In two separate affidavits filed in the court, they tendered unqualified apologies for the "breach of the statement" recorded in the November 21 last year order of the apex court.

In the November 21, 2023 order, the top court had noted that counsel representing Patanjali Ayurved had assured it 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".

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

Non-adherence to the specific assurance and subsequent media statements by the firm had irked the apex court, which later issued notice to them to show cause as to why contempt proceedings be not initiated against them.

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

On April 2, the top court had come down hard on Ramdev and Balkrishna and rejected their previous apology as "lip service".

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024