The Supreme Court is dissatisfied due to Patanjali's persistent propagation of misleading claims on the effectiveness of its products. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
The Supreme Court is dissatisfied due to Patanjali's persistent propagation of misleading claims on the effectiveness of its products. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)Subhashish Panigrahi

Supreme Court Gives Last Chance to Patanjali for a Response

Justice Kohli mentioned that there are still many unanswered questions about Coronil

In a recent development, the Supreme Court has taken a stern stance against Patanjali Ayurveda and its co-founder Baba Ramdev for their misleading advertisements regarding medicinal products. The Supreme Court is dissatisfied due to Patanjali's persistent propagation of misleading claims on the effectiveness of its products, even in the presence of warnings and legal orders.

The bench pointed out that the AYUSH Ministry which includes Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy was required to explain why it didn't make it clear to the public that Ayurvedic products were only meant to complement other medicines.

Eventually, the court agreed to SG Mehta's request to give one last chance to Ramdev and Patanjali to submit a response.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was representing the central government.

We have questions for AYUSH. You issued notice to Patanjali, and they filed a reply, but the reply is not before us, and we are wondering why. COVID was in 2022, and you had yourself stated that these were at best a supplement to the main medicine. This was not publicized at all. Nothing could move without the central go-ahead during COVID, and you did nothing to make this known. It was a critical period.
Justice Hima Kohli, Supreme Court of India

Upon the situation, Justice Kohli also mentioned that there are still many unanswered questions about Coronil.

Justice Kohli criticized the Center for not taking action against Patanjali despite the negative remarks mentioned in the letter about modern medicine.

The case initially gained attention in November last year when the Supreme Court responded to a petition by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), cautioning Patanjali Ayurved against airing false and misleading claims in its advertisements. Despite the court's warning and the prohibition on advertising products claiming to treat specific ailments under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, Patanjali continued to make exaggerated claims about its products' ability to cure various conditions permanently.

On February 27, the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction with Patanjali's persistent dissemination of false advertisements and issued notices to the company, questioning why contempt proceedings should not be initiated. The court also chastised the government for not taking action against the false advertisements, stating that it was "sitting with its eyes shut."

The court also chastised the government for not taking action against the false advertisements, stating that it was "sitting with its eyes shut." (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
The court also chastised the government for not taking action against the false advertisements, stating that it was "sitting with its eyes shut." (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

During the recent hearing, the Supreme Court criticized Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, the managing director of Patanjali, for their absolute defiance in failing to submit proper affidavits of compliance and for disregarding legal directives. Additionally, the Court chastised Patanjali's medical practitioner for calling the Drugs and Cosmetics (Magic Remedies) Act "archaic."

Despite Ramdev's attorney extending a personal and unconditional apology before the court, Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah declined to acknowledge the apology and emphasized the seriousness of the issue. The Court has granted Patanjali a final opportunity to file affidavits within one week and mandated their presence at the next hearing on April 10.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has highlighted several ads by Patanjali that allegedly portrayed allopathy and doctors negatively, intending to mislead the public. The association argued that these ads implied that medical practitioners themselves were dying despite taking modern medicines.

In response to the situation, the Supreme Court has ordered the Drugs and License Department to be added as a party to the case and has made the state of Uttarakhand a party as well. The Court's actions reflect its commitment to upholding the law and ensuring that misleading advertisements do not mislead the public or undermine public health efforts.

Overall, the Supreme Court's scrutiny of Patanjali's misleading advertisements underscores the importance of responsible advertising practices and the need for strict enforcement of laws governing the promotion of medicinal products.

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary)

The Supreme Court is dissatisfied due to Patanjali's persistent propagation of misleading claims on the effectiveness of its products. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
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