Patanjali Misleading Ads Case: After Ramdev, Supreme Court Raps IMA, FMCG Companies| Here's Why

After slamming Baba Ramdev and Patanjali for its misleading advertisements, the Supreme Court of India proceeded to call out the Indian Medical Association, FMCG companies and various central ministries over the publication of misleading advertisements.

SC Raps Ramdev, IMA, FMCG Companies and Central Ministries Photo: PTI

After slamming Baba Ramdev and Patanjali for its misleading advertisements, the Supreme Court of India has now called out the Indian Medical Associated over "unethical conduct". On Tuesday, the top court continued its marathon hearing regarding Patanjali's misleading advertisements case regarding Coronil, which was advertised as a "cure" for COVID-19.

The matter was heard by a bench comprising of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah. After rapping Ramdev and Balkrishna for their "microscopic" apology across newspapers, the bench highlighted the reports of "unethical conduct" by IMA doctors.

The apex court urged the leading doctors body to "put its house in order" regarding "unethical acts" and "expensive and unnecessary medicines" being prescribed to patients.

Along with Patanjali and Ramdev, the Supreme Court also held IMA doctors responsible for promoting allopathic remedies.

"Your (IMA) doctors are also endorsing medicines in the allopathic field. If that's happening, why should we not turn the beam at you," stated the court.

This observations comes as a setback for the Indian Medical Association, which is the prime body that filed the case of misleading ads against Patanjali.

SC Questions Omission of Rule 170

The Supreme Court also questioned why the government had omitted Rule 170 from the Drugs and Magical Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act. Under this rule, medicines cannot be advertises as products with "magical abilities".

The rule was first introduced in 2018, solely to crosscheck the claims made Ayurveda companies such as Patanjali. However, in August 2023, the AYUSH ministry reversed this rule and called for its omission.

"Can you put on hold exercise of a law when it is in power? Is it not colorable exercise of power and violation of law," the court asked over the orders issued to withdraw Rule 170.

Furthermore, Justice Hima Kohli observed that the IMA should have also impleaded the Consumer Affairs Ministry in the case for misleading ads.

"You (the centre) decided to change your stand. The rule was for running ads by you... and now (you) say the ad need not be cross-checked?" stated Justice Kohli, added that the IMA "should have impleaded the Consumer Affairs Ministry (too)".

"It looks like the authorities were very busy looking at the revenue," the court observed further.

SC Raps FMCG Companies For 'Endangering Lives'

The Supreme Court also obsered that FMCG companies had been "taking the public for a ride" by allowing the publishing advertisments of products that can severly impact the health of babies, children and senior citizens.

"Now we are looking at everything...We are looking at children, babies, women and no one can be taken for a ride," the court stated while directing central ministries to file affidavits on the work they have done to tackle misleading ads in the past three years.