Supreme Court reserves judgment in Patanjali misleading Advertisements case

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Court was informed today that original copies of apologies published in newspapers, as directed, had been filed and steps were underway with respect to ads of Patanjali products for which licenses were recently suspended by state authorities

The Supreme Court has reserved its judgment in the contempt petition filed by Indian Medical Association against Patanjali, its Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna and co-founder Baba Ramdev over the continuous publication of misleading advertisements in contravention of court's orders.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah has directed Patanjali to submit an affidavit over the steps taken by it to recall the 14 products whose licenses have been suspended.

Recently Supreme court had blasted the official authorities of the State of Uttarakhand for not acting over the misleading advertisements being posted by Patanjali since 2018.

The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority had then told the Supreme Court that it had on April 15 suspended licenses for 14 products manufactured by Divya Pharmacy and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd with immediate effect.

Court had also came down heavily on Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna for not taking the contempt notices issued to them seriously.

"There is a gross violation of the undertaking given to the highest court of the should have made sure that the chain of command should go to the last man..we also can say that we are sorry to accept your apology that your media department is an island..", the bench had said referring to the affidavit filed by Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna saying that the ads were approved by the media department and they were unaware of it.

Earlier, Patanjali Ayurveda had filed an unqualified apology before the Supreme Court of India for issuing misleading advertisements. Submitting that it will ensure that such advertisements are not issued in the future, the affidavit filed through Patanjali's managing Director Acharya Balkrishna adds, "the Deponent begs to submit that its intention is only to exhort the citizens of this country to lead a healthier life by consuming products of the Respondent No. 5 including products for lifestyle ailments through the use of age old literature and materials supplementing and backed by ayurvedic research".

This affidavit was filed in light of the Supreme Court's recent order whereby it directed Baba Ramdev and Patanjali's Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna to personally appear before it.

On February 27, Court had imposed a ban of advertisements of medicines Ramdev Baba's Patanjali noting that it has been taking the country for a ride by making misleading claims.

The bench had further recorded that the medicines claim to cure certain diseases without any empirical evidence for the same.

Indian Medical Association (IMA) had filed the instant plea alleging a smear campaign by Ramdev Baba and his company against the COVID-19 vaccination and modern medicine.

Court had in November last year also directed Patanjali not to publish false advertisements in the future.

Patanjali had then undertaken not to publish advertisements making false claims about its products and targeting modern medicines and vaccinations, but it continued to do so, the court was told today.

Case Title: Indian Medical Association & Anr vs. Union of India and Ors