SC rebukes Patanjali for attempt to discredit allopathy, warns of hefty penalty | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC rebukes Patanjali for attempt to discredit allopathy, warns of hefty penalty

ByAbraham Thomas
Nov 21, 2023 08:25 PM IST

“We will take it very seriously if you keep doing this and even impose cost to the extent of ₹1 crore on every product.”

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Centre to come out with a comprehensive mechanism to stop misleading advertisements making unverified claims to cure all kinds of diseases even as it reprimanded yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his commercial entity Patanjali Ayurved Limited for making disparaging remarks against modern medicine and discrediting its proponents.

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) seeking an order against all misleading advertisements. (Reuters)
The Court was dealing with a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) seeking an order against all misleading advertisements. (Reuters)

A bench headed by justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah said, “This is blatant infraction of law what you (Patanjali) are doing. We will take it very seriously if you keep doing this and even impose cost to the extent of 1 crore on every product.”

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The court was dealing with a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) seeking an order against all misleading advertisements claiming to have a cure for all ailments and discrediting doctors in the process by doubting the efficacy of allopathic medicines. The petition made Patanjali Ayurved as one of the respondents referring to an advertisement issued in July last year in leading newspapers, which alleged that health benefits claimed by allopathy are “nowhere to be seen” and those dependent on it are suffering from “hellish pangs” of adverse health effects.

The court said that it did not intend to enter into a debate about whether allopathy is superior or ayurveda and asked the the Centre to come out with a “comprehensive solution” to deal with all kinds of misleading claims.

“We want to find a real solution to the problem of misleading advertisements making false claims that it can cure a particular disease,” said the bench, also comprising justice PK Mishra. Posting the matter to February 5, the bench asked additional solicitor general (ASG) KM Nataraj to deal with the issue in a holistic manner where citizens are not misled by these false claims.

Also Read: SC notice on Baba Ramdev plea to club FIRs over Covid-19 allopathy comment

Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya appeared for Patanjali and said that the petition has tried to suppress many facts and presented selective statements by the company and Baba Ramdev. The Court recorded in its order the statement by Poovayya that the company will not publish any misleading statement or make any casual statement to the press on the issue agitated before it in the petition.

The IMA had in its petition reproduced a series of statements made by the yoga guru which are blatantly false and accused him of running a concerted campaign to malign doctors and create doubts in the minds of people about allopathy.

Senior advocate PS Patwalia appearing for IMA along with advocate Prabhas Bajaj said, “Patanjali claims to have a permanent solution for life style disorders, incurable, chronic and genetic diseases, skin diseases, arthritis, cervical spondylitis, asthma, among others which is an infraction of law.” The IMA argued that such unabated misinformation campaign against allopathy is continuing with complete inaction and indifference by the state authorities.

Under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectional Advertisements) Act, 1954, publication of such advertisements is prohibited. Section 3 of the 1954 Act prohibits any advertisement claiming the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any of the diseases involving lifestyle diseases.

Patanjali’s claim to eradicate asthma was in direct contravention to the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules 1945, the petition added.

The association of doctors told the Court that while every commercial entity such as Patanjali Ayurved has a right to promote its own products, the continuous, systematic and unabated spread of misinformation regarding allopathy should stop. During Covid-19 pandemic, Baba Ramdev held a press conference in June 2020 announcing that his company had developed a cure for Covid-19 pandemic. Later, the Centre issued a notice asking Patanjali not to make such false claims.

At another public event in May 2021, during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic, Ramdev called allopathy to be a “stupid and bankrupt science” and falsely claimed that more than 1000 doctors have died after taking both doses of the vaccine.

The IMA had also registered criminal cases against Ramdev and Patanjali over his false claims in several states. Ramdev had approached the Supreme Court in a separate proceeding seeking consolidation of all criminal cases at a single place. Besides, a defamation suit filed by IMA against Ramdev is pending before the Delhi high court.

Ramdev filed an affidavit in response in January this year before the top court pointing out that in June, 2021 he had hailed practitioners of modern medicine as God’s envoys and appealed people to get vaccinated.

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