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SC Pulls Up IMA Chief For Interview In Patanjali Misleading Ads Case: '...Lampooing The Court'

The Supreme Court also pulled up IMA president RV Asokan over a recent interview of his where he spoke against the apex court and answered questions about Patanjali Ayurved's misleading advertisements case.

X/@PypAyurved
The case pertains to plea filed in 2022 by the IMA, alleging a smear campaign by Patanjali against the Covid vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine. Photo: X/@PypAyurved
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved an order on contempt notice issued to yoga guru Ramdev, his aide Acharya Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd in the case of the misleading ad. The case pertains to plea filed in 2022 by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), alleging a smear campaign by Patanjali against the Covid vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court also pulled up IMA president RV Asokan over a recent interview of his where he spoke against the apex court and answered questions about Patanjali Ayurved's misleading advertisements case.

After RK Asovan tendered an unconditional apology on Tuesday before the Supreme Court, the Justice Hima Kohli from the bench said: "You can't sit on a couch giving an interview to the press and lampooning the court."

The bench told the IMA's counsel that at this stage, the court was not inclined to accept the affidavit of apology tendered by the IMA president.

While hearing the matter on May 7, the top court had termed as "very, very unacceptable" the statements made by Asokan.

Contempt Notice Order Reserved

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah noted that the counsel appearing for Patanjali Ayurved has sought time to file affidavit indicating the steps being taken to recall the advertisements of those products of Patanjali whose licences have been suspended.

The bench said the affidavit be filed within three weeks.

"Orders are reserved on the contempt notice issued to respondents 5 to 7 (Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Balkrishna and Ramdev)," the bench said.

Patanjali Misleading Ads

Yoga guru Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna-owned Patanjali Ayurved have been at the receiving end of Supreme Court's ire over so-called "misleading" ads of their products. The starting point of the entire matter was when Patanjali launched a product called Coronil in February 2021, just before the second wave of the Covid-19 breakout, in an event that was attended by the then Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

In its ads, the company claimed Coronil was the "first evidence-based medicine for Covid-19" and the ad poster read the product was certified and recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, WHO denied it had certified any natural medicine to cure coronavirus. The IMA then slammed Patanjali, calling the WHO certification claim as a "blatant lie" and asked for an explanation from the health minister, who is a doctor too.

Not bowing down, Patanjali's founder Baba Ramdev reciprocated by attacking IMA and declaring allopathy as a killer of lakhs of people in a video that went viral.

In response, the IMA sent a legal notice to Ramdev seeking an apology and withdrawal of his remarks on allopathy. Patanjali did not stop there and in 2022, the firm's ads in leading newspapers in the country read, "Misconceptions Spread By Allopathy: Save Yourself And The Country From The Misconceptions Spread By Pharma And Medical Industry."

In response to the above, the IMA filed a case against the firm.

After multiple hearings, the Supreme Court in November 2022 warned Patanjali of heavy fines against misleading ads by the firm on curing serious ailments like diabetes & high blood pressure. Patanjali then assured the top court that it would not make such claims on super pills or magical medicines in its ads.

The company also said, "henceforth, there shall not be any violation of any of the laws, especially relating to advertisement and branding of products."

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