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SC denies Patanjali Ayurved & Baba Ramdev’s 2nd apology in contempt case

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In Short:

The Supreme Court rejected a second apology from Baba Ramdev, Patanjali Ayurved, and Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case. The Court expressed concern about FMCG companies misleading the public and flagged Patanjali’s false claims of curing diseases like diabetes and Covid-19. The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority was criticized for ignoring misleading advertisements. The Court demanded detailed affidavits and scheduled the next hearing for April 16 and 23.

Supreme Court Refuses Second Apology from Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved

The Supreme Court has made it clear that it will not accept a second apology from self-styled yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Patanjali Ayurved, and its Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case. The court raised concerns about Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies misleading the public and jeopardizing their health while the government fails to take action.

Censure Against Misleading Advertisements

During the hearing, Justice Hima Kohli expressed disappointment over the objectionable and misleading advertisements run by Patanjali, claiming to cure various ailments including diabetes, obesity, liver dysfunction, and even Covid-19. The court deemed these advertisements as deliberate violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954 and its Rules.

Contempt Proceedings Initiated

The apex court initiated contempt proceedings against Patanjali and Balkrishna for violating an undertaking made in November last year to refrain from making false claims. Despite the court’s directive, Ramdev conducted a press conference after the undertaking was given, leading to the contempt actions.

Court’s Warning

Justice Kohli warned that the court would not show mercy to anyone cheating the public with medicines touted as a cure. The hearing also saw the court criticizing the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for ignoring the misleading advertisements by Patanjali.

Call for Accountability

The court ordered the State Licensing Authority officials to file detailed affidavits explaining why action was not taken against Patanjali under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act. It also instructed former District Ayurvedic and Unani Officers to explain their inaction against Patanjali from 2018 to 2024.

Next Steps

The court has scheduled the next hearing for April 16 to address the contempt case and further discuss the accountability of authorities who failed to address the issue.

Government’s Response

In response to the court’s queries, the Centre mentioned that the authenticity of Patanjali’s ‘Coronil’ as a support measure for Covid-19 was questioned by an Interdisciplinary Technical Review Committee in December 2020.

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