Patanjali advertisements case: SC grants one week to Ramdev, Balkrishna and Patanjali to issue public statement

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Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev appears before the Supreme Court for the hearing in the misleading advertisement case filed against the Patanjali Ayurveda, in New Delhi. File.
| Photo Credit: ANI

Yoga guru Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved managing director Balkrishna on April 16 told the Supreme Court they are willing to tender a public apology in the misleading advertisements case.

“I am willing to give a public apology,” senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ramdev and Balkrishna, told a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah. Mr. Rohatgi says they propose to take steps unilaterally to redeem themselves and requests a week’s time for the same. The Supreme Court has posted the case for further hearing on April 23

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Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an “unconditional and unqualified apology” before the apex court over advertisements issued by the firm making tall claims about the medicinal efficacy of its products.

The apex court asked Ramdev and Balkrishna, both of whom were present in the court, to come forward for an interaction with the bench.

“They should feel they have a connect with the court,” the bench said.

Justice Kohli questioned Baba Ramdev in open court, as the yoga guru said he offers an “unconditional apology” for holding press conference a day after an undertaking was given in SC to not advertise or publicise medicines in violation of Drugs and Magic Remedies Act. Justice Kohli tells Ramdev that it was irresponsible behaviour on his part to criticise other disciplines of medicine while claiming that his was superior to others. Ramdev went on to acknowledge that it was wrong on his part to do so.

As Justice Amanullah told the contemnors that the law is equal for all, Acharya Balakrishna said it was a lack of knowledge on their part.

While Ramdev, with folded hands said that they are completely at fault for what happened, tendering an unconditional apology, Justice Kohli said they are still “not off the hook”.

In two separate affidavits filed in the court, Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an unqualified apology for the “breach of the statement” recorded in the November 21 last year order of the apex court.

In the November 21, 2023 order, the top court had noted that counsel representing Patanjali Ayurved had assured it that “henceforth 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”.

The top court had said Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is “bound down to such assurance”.

The non-observance of the specific assurance and the subsequent media statements irked the apex court, which later issued a notice to them to explain why contempt proceedings be not initiated against them.

(With inputs from PTI)

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