Misleading ads by Patanjali: Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna tender oral apology before SC

New Delhi: Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna on Tuesday orally tendered their “unqualified and unconditional apology” before the Supreme Court.

“Jo bhi humse bhul hui, uske liye unconditional or unqualified apology accept kijye (We tender an unconditional and unqualified apology for whatever mistake we made),” submitted Baba Ramdev before a bench presided over by Justice Hima Kohli.

“Will you say that other forms of medicine are not ‘up to the mark’ and ‘should be discarded’? Why would you say that?” asked the Bench, also comprising Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

In response, Baba Ramdev submitted that Patanjali made efforts to make Ayurveda an evidence-based medicine system and he is not criticising anyone.

Interjecting, the apex court said, “Hum aapke ravaiye ki baat kar rahe hain. Agar apne (research) kiya hai, toh interdisciplinary committee hai, jo Union government ne banai hai, usme aap prove karenge… aapke waqil ne statement diya ki apne ayurveda ko badhane ke liye, dusri medicines or unke treatment ko ‘shoot down’ nahi karenge. (We are talking about your attitude. If you have done it (research, etc.), then you will prove it before the interdisciplinary committee formed by the Union government… Your lawyer had stated that in order to promote your Ayurveda, you will not ‘shoot down’ other medicines or their treatments.”

With folded hands, Baba Ramdev said that he should have not made such public statements and would be more careful in future. “Aesa humse utsah me ho gaya, aage se hum nahi karenge (We did this out of excitement, we won’t do it again),” he added.

On similar lines, Acharya Balkrishna submitted, “Yeh galti agyanta mein hui hain. Aage se bahut dhyan rakhenge. Us galti par hum kshama prarthana karte hein (This mistake happened unknowingly. We will be very careful in future. We apologise for our mistakes).”

Further, the top court questioned Ramdev and Balkrishna over the continued publication of misleading advertisements and holding a press conference immediately after Patanjali’s lawyer furnished an undertaking in November last year.

The ayurvedic company had earlier assured the Supreme Court that it would not make any casual statements claiming the medicinal efficacy of its products or advertise or brand them in violation of law and would not release any statement against any system of medicine to the media in any form.

Baba Ramdev said that he had no intention to breach the undertaking furnished before the Supreme Court. “Kisi bhi prakar se manniya nyayalya ka anadar karna hamari mansa na thi, na hein or na kabhi ho sakti hai (It was never our intention to disrespect the Hon’ble Court in any way, neither is it nor can ever be),” he said.

After interacting with the duo, the apex court said that it would consider the unconditional apology tendered by the proposed contemnors, clarifying that it has not condoned the conduct of Ramdev and Balkrishna.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the proposed contemnors, said that Patanjali would take voluntary steps to demonstrate its bonafide and requested that the matter be listed after one week.

Ramdev and Balkrishna will appear in person on the next date of listing as well.

The Indian Medical Association has sought action against Patanjali for violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 — which prohibits the advertisement of certain products for the treatment of specified diseases and disorders, including diabetes, heart diseases, high or low blood pressure and obesity.

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