After Supreme Court rap, Ramdev files ‘unconditional’ apology | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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After Supreme Court rap, Ramdev files ‘unconditional’ apology

Apr 10, 2024 04:56 AM IST

Facing the daunting prospect of contempt charges, yoga guru and entrepreneur Ramdev has filed a fresh affidavit in the SC.

Facing the daunting prospect of contempt charges, yoga guru and entrepreneur Ramdev has filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court furnishing an “unconditional and unqualified apology” for disobeying court orders that prohibited Patanjali Ayurved from running misleading advertisements on health cures. Ramdev has also promised he will not make any public statement that may undermine the court’s authority or question the efficacy of modern medicine.

Yog Guru Baba Ramdev leaves the Supreme Court after appearing in the misleading advertisement case filed against the Patanjali Ayurveda in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI)
Yog Guru Baba Ramdev leaves the Supreme Court after appearing in the misleading advertisement case filed against the Patanjali Ayurveda in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI)

Patanjali managing director Acharya Balkrishna, too, submitted a new affidavit tendering “unconditional apology,” with a promise that no statements or advertisements making controversial remarks about other forms of medicine or unscientific claims about Patanjali products will be made in the future.

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Read here: SC hears Ramdev’s apology with ‘a sack full of salt’, tells him he is bound by law

“I hereby tender my unconditional apology in regard to the issue of advertisements... I sincerely regret this lapse and I wish to assure the hon’ble court that the same will not be repeated. I hereby tender an unconditional and unqualified apology for the breach of the statement recorded in para 3 of the order of this hon’ble court dated 21.11.2023,” stated the affidavits filed separately by Ramdev and Balkrishna on April 6.

“I further undertake and ensure that the said statement shall be complied with in letter and spirit and no such similar advertisements shall be used... I seek pardon for the aforesaid breach of the statement. I undertake to always uphold the majesty of law and majesty of justice,” they added.

The affidavits will be considered by the top court on Wednesday. The new affidavits have come days after Ramdev found himself embroiled in a legal tussle with the Supreme Court, facing the looming threat of contempt charges that the yoga guru seeks to wriggle out of with his new apology affidavit.

On April 2, a bench of justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah rejected Ramdev’s oral apology, calling it a mere “lip service” and commenting the apology affidavits sought to be placed before it by the yoga guru and Balkrishna had to be taken with a “sack full of salt”.

While the two remained physically present before the bench, the court took serious notice of their “absolute defiance” in not adhering to the commitment given before it in the petition filed by the Indian Medical Association, and gave them a final chance to produce fresh affidavits within a week.

“You have to abide by the undertaking given to court...but you have broken every barrier. Consequences will now flow. For you to go like a shot and hold a press conference in the teeth of the undertaking shows you are complicit, and you flouted our orders...You are bound by law like any other common man,” it told Ramdev on April 2.

In a series of hearings on the medical association’s petition complaining against Ramdev’s contentious comments about modern medicine, also popularly known as allopathy in India, and allegedly misleading advertisements about Patanjali products, the Supreme Court expressed grave concern and emphasised the need for responsible discourse, especially during a pandemic like Covid-19.

The court admonished Patanjali for spreading misinformation that could undermine public trust in the health care system and had recorded an undertaking by the company in November 2023 that it would stop running any misleading advertisements and issuing disparaging statements against modern or any other form of medicine.

However, the medical association came back to the bench with a video clip of a press conference held by Ramdev and Patanjali advertisements in national media merely a day after their undertaking in the court on November 21. Additionally, the association produced a series of advertisements branding Patanjali products as cure for several ailments, including hypertension and diabetes.

Irked by the contravention of its order and its own assurance, the court by its subsequent orders of February 27 and March 19 called Ramdev and Balkrishna in person, asking them to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of court.

On April 2, the bench pulled up Ramdev for his comments against doctors and modern medicine. “The disparaging comment by the contemnors is most unfortunate,” the bench said. “They are mocking at people (doctors) to whom people look up to.”

Expecting responsible behaviour Ramdev, the court added: “We are taking this seriously as people of your stature command respect in society. You have done a good job for yoga. There is onerous responsibility expected from you than from the common public.”

On that day, the court also hinted that Ramdev will have to further explain for an incorrect fact in his March 30 application for exemption from personal appearance. The plea said that a copy of his overseas trip ticket was annexed, but the court noted that this was not possible because the ticket was issued on March 31.

In his latest affidavit, Ramdev said he had asked his travel agent to issue him the overseas trip ticket on March 30 itself and endorsed the application for exemption from personal appearance on that day itself. However, the ticket was issued only on March 31, and thus, the date of signing the application and the issuance of ticket were different.

Read here: ‘Broken every barrier’: Supreme Court raps Baba Ramdev, Patanjali for ‘defiance’ | Key takeaways

“I tender and unconditional and unqualified apology for the aforesaid lapse and assure this hon’ble court to be more vigilant in future,” Ramdev’s affidavit stated.

On April 2, the Centre and the Uttarakhand state licencing authority were also questioned by the court for allegedly turning a blind eye to Patanjali’s violations. The court remarked that they were “complicit” and provided a “long rope” to the company by failing to file criminal charges against it for misrepresenting Coronil as a cure for Covid-19, which it isn’t, and for subsequent advertisements that were released in violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

The authorities are likely to be questioned on Wednesday when the bench takes up the matter.

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