Supreme Court’s contempt notice to Patanjali: ban on advertisement claiming to cure diseases

New Delhi/Source : The Supreme Court on Tuesday banned the misleading drug advertisements of Baba Ramdev company Patanjali Ayurveda. In fact, last year the court had directed the company not to give such advertisements. The company ignored it. On this, the court has issued contempt notice to the company and Managing Director (MD) Acharya Balkrishna.

On the decision of the Supreme Court, Patanjali said – We are waiting for the order of the Supreme Court. Will follow his instructions.

The Supreme Court was hearing the petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on August 17, 2022. It said that Patanjali did negative publicity against Covid vaccination and allopathy. At the same time, he falsely claimed to cure some diseases with his own Ayurvedic medicines. The next hearing of the case will be on March 19.

Court said- Patanjali is cheating the country by making misleading claims

The bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said – Patanjali is cheating the country by making misleading claims that its medicines will cure some diseases, whereas there is no concrete evidence for this. Patanjali cannot advertise its products claiming to cure diseases specified in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.

Court asked the government- What action did you take against Patanjali?

The court asked the government what action has been taken against Patanjali’s advertisements under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954. On behalf of the Centre, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) said that data is being collected in this regard. The court expressed displeasure over this reply and directed to keep an eye on the company’s advertisements.

Patanjali released advertisements even after court order

IMA presented before the court the advertisements issued in print media in December 2023 and January 2024. Apart from this, it was also told about a press conference of Yoga Guru Ramdev with Patanjali CEO Balkrishna on 22 November 2023. Patanjali had claimed in these advertisements to ‘completely cure’ diabetes and asthma.

This press conference was held just a day after the Supreme Court hearing. In the hearing held on 21 November 2023, Justice Amanullah had said – Patanjali will have to immediately stop all advertisements with misleading claims. The court will take any such violation very seriously and can impose a penalty of up to Rs 1 crore for each false claim on a product.

Court’s instructions – do not release such advertisement again

The court had directed that Patanjali Ayurveda will not publish any such advertisement in future and will also ensure that such casual statements are not made by it in the press. The bench also said that it does not want to turn the issue into a debate of ‘Allopathy vs Ayurveda’ but wants to find a real solution to the problem of misleading medical advertisements.

In an earlier hearing, the then Chief Justice NV Ramanna had said, ‘Baba Ramdev can popularize his medical system, but why should he criticize other systems. We all respect him, he popularized yoga, but he should not criticize other systems.

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