SC Rejects Patanjali Founders’ Apologies for Misleading Ads

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SC Rejects Patanjali Founders’ Apologies for Misleading Ads

| Updated: April 10, 2024 14:04

The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday dismissed the apologies submitted by Patanjali founders Ramdev and Balkrishna. The court expressed its dissatisfaction over the company’s misleading advertisements, stating, “We are not blind” and questioned why it should not treat the apology with the “same disdain as shown to the court undertaking?”

The bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, declined to accept the affidavit, considering it a “willful, deliberate, repeated violation” of their orders. The court also expressed its dissatisfaction with the Centre’s response in the matter.

Interestingly, the court noted that Ramdev and Balkrishna had first sent their apologies to the media. “Till the matter hit the Court, the contemnors did not find it fit to send us the affidavits. They sent it to the media first, till 7.30 pm yesterday it was not uploaded for us. They believe in publicity clearly,” the court observed.

The Apex Court also criticized the Uttarakhand government for its inaction against Patanjali Ayurved for violating the law. The court warned the Uttarakhand government that it would not be let off easily. It also called for the suspension of the concerned officers who remained silent despite receiving complaints.

The Top Court further questioned the Uttarakhand drug authorities for their lack of action against the company, despite the clear ‘suggestive nature’ of the content. Justice Kohli remarked, “They say the purpose of the advertisement was to keep people connected with Ayurvedic medicines as if they are the first ones in the world to come up with Ayurvedic medicines.”

Contempt Proceedings Against Patanjali

The apex court is currently hearing a plea filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), alleging a smear campaign against the vaccination drive and modern medicines. On March 19, the court had directed Ramdev and Balkrishna to appear before it due to the company’s failure to respond to the notice issued in the case relating to the advertisements of the firm’s products and their medicinal efficacy.

The top court had deemed it appropriate to issue Ramdev a show cause notice as advertisements issued by Patanjali, which were against the undertaking given to the court on November 21, 2023, reflect an endorsement by him.

Ramdev and Balkrishna’s Apology

Yoga guru Ramdev and managing director of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd Acharya Balkrishna on Tuesday tendered an “unconditional and unqualified apology” before the Supreme Court over advertisements issued by the firm making tall claims about the medicinal efficacy of its products.

In two separate affidavits filed in the apex court, Ramdev and Balkrishna tendered an unqualified apology for the “breach of the statement” recorded in the November 21 last year order of the apex court.

Ramdev expressed his sincere regret for the lapse and assured the court that such an incident would not be repeated. He stated, “I hereby tender an unconditional and unqualified apology for the breach of the statement recorded in para 3 of the order of this court dated November 21, 2023”. He further pledged to comply with the court’s statement in letter and spirit and refrain from issuing similar advertisements.

In addition, Ramdev apologized for the press conference held on November 22 last year. He undertook not to make any public statements that may amount to a breach of the undertaking given before the court. He sought pardon for the breach of the statement and committed to upholding the majesty of law and justice.

Similarly, Balkrishna also tendered an unconditional apology for the breach of the statement recorded in the apex court’s November 21 last year order. He expressed his sincere regret for the issue of advertisements from Patanjali, which is an infraction of the order dated November 21, 2023. He stated, “I never had any intention to violate orders of this court. I state that no such lapse will occur in future. I will always uphold the majesty of law”.

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