Friday, May 24, 2024
HomeNews ReportsPatanjali Ayurved in deep trouble: What transpired, why is the Supreme Court acting so...

Patanjali Ayurved in deep trouble: What transpired, why is the Supreme Court acting so firmly and why are Netizens divided on the case?

Netizens are divided over the matter. While some are questioning why other companies are not being targeted for the misleading ads, the other side says that Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved deserve the treatment by the apex court.

On 10th April, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved’s Managing Director Balkrishna, faced a severe backlash from the Supreme Court of India as the apex court rejected their unconditional apologies regarding the publication of misleading ads. The court deemed their apology as insincere and highlighted that the two apologised only after the matter was brought to light.

What happened in the case recently?

On 9th April, Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna tendered an unconditional apology. The affidavit read, “I hereby tender my unconditional apology regarding the issue of advertisements which occurred after the statement of counsel of respondent no. 5 (Patanjali) which was recorded in the order dated November 21, 2023, which I am informed has the force of an injunction.”

Furthermore, Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna apologised for the November 2023 press conference. It read, “I sincerely regret this lapse and I wish to assure the court that the same will not be repeated,” he said, adding, “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.”

However, the apex court was not convinced and rejected it on 10th April. The court called it insufficient and hinted Patanjali must face consequences for their actions. The bench expressed surprise over the fact that the affidavit was sent to the media before it was uploaded for the court. The bench said. “Tendering apology is not enough. You should suffer the consequences for violating the court’s order. We do not want to be generous in this case. Till the matter hit the Court, the contemnors did not find it fit to send us the (fresh apology) affidavits. They sent it to the media first. Till 7:30 pm yesterday it was not uploaded for us. They believe in publicity clearly…You are defrauding the affidavit. Who drafted it, I am surprised.”

Origin of the case

In August 2022, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) filed a plea in the Supreme Court against Patanjali. It was prompted by an ad titled ‘Misconceptions Spread By Allopathy: Save Yourself And The Country From The Misconceptions Spread By Pharma And Medical Industry’. Here is the ad:

Source: News18

The advertisement, along with several other instances, including the remarks by Baba Ramdev against allopathy sparked controversy in the country. Notably, Baba Ramdev also attributed COVID-19 deaths to allopathic medicine. In its plea, the IMA accused Patanjali Ayurved of contributing to vaccine hesitancy. The association further accused Patanjali of spreading misinformation about the efficacy of its products in curing various diseases.

Notably, Patanjali Ayurved is an umbrella company that produces Ayurvedic medicines as well as FMGC products.

Legal proceedings

In November 2023, Justice Amanullah cautioned Patanjali against making claims that its medicines can completely cure various diseases. He also warned that the court would impose hefty fines for such claims. The legal representatives of the company ensure compliance with advertising laws. They further assured that the company would not make any statements against any medical system in the future.

Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya said, “There shall not be any violation of any law(s), especially relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it and, further, that no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any form.”

Relevant laws

Two specific laws penalising the dissemination of misleading advertisements and false claims about product efficacy are the Drugs & Other Magical Remedies Act, of 1954 (DOMA) and the Consumer Protection Act, of 2019 (CPA). Furthermore, the Ministry of AYUSH and the Advertising Standards Council of India had signed an MoU to curb misleading ads. The MoU was mentioned by IMA in its plea.

Case developments after anonymous complaint against Patanjali Ayurved

On 15th January 2024, the Supreme Court of India received an anonymous letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India and Justice Anamullah stating that the false advertising by Patanjali continued despite the court’s orders. Subsequently, a contempt notice was issued to Balkrishna and Patanjali on 27th February.

The court took immediate action against Patanjali and put a blanket ban on the advertisements of the medicinal products. The court also criticised the government for inaction and said, “The entire country has been taken for a ride! For two years you wait when the Drugs Act says this is prohibited?”

Despite the ban on ads by the court, Patanjali Ayurved failed to fully comply with the orders. On 19th March, the court was informed that a reply to the contempt notice was not filed by the company. The court ordered the personal appearance of Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna.

Uttarakhand government was also made a party in the matter. On 21st March, Balkrishna issued an unqualified apology. On 2nd April, the court criticised Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna for their inadequate apology calling it “lip service”.

Furthermore, the court demanded a comprehensive explanation for their actions and pointed out the severity of the violations.

Netizens divided over Patanjali Ayurved matter

As the Supreme Court is moving towards strict action against Patanjali Ayurved, netizens are divided over the matter. While some are questioning why other companies are not being targeted for the misleading ads, the other side says that Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved deserve the treatment by the apex court.

Several netizens have shared their favourite Patanjali products on social media. For instance, Sunanda Roy said, “Thanks to Baba Ramdev for making Patanjali Dant Kanti toothpaste. It’s my favourite toothpaste.”

On the other hand, filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri said nobody should have the power to misinform and mislead innocent people, especially by invoking religious sentiments. He said, “I personally follow Rishi Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutra” philosophy, but it doesn’t mean anything with the brand name Patanjali should be acceptable as a legacy, even if it’s making false claims. Many people are against the Supreme Court’s decision, which I find is correct, courageous and a landmark judgement. Nobody should have the power to misinform and mislead innocent people, especially by invoking religious sentiments. Also, disobeying the Supreme Court should not be acceptable at all. Please don’t make the mistake of defending the indefensible. If you defend now and tomorrow someone in your family suffers because of crooks and their misinformation, you will have no place to go.”

Author Ratan Sharda questioned the interests behind the plea filed against Patanjali and pointed out that IMA’s chairman was Dr Jiyalal, a practising Christian, who openly supported religious conversion.

Founder of Garuda Prakashan said, “The chairman of the Indian Medical Association feels it is necessary to attack Patanjali and Ayurveda because its original texts are in Sanskrit and they are an obstacle to his mission—to spread Christianity. Very scientific.”

The next hearing of the matter will take place on 16th April, 2024.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -