Baba Ramdev personally apologises to Supreme Court for misleading Patanjali ads

With folded hands, Baba Ramdev said that he should have not made such public statements and would be more careful in the future.
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Co-founder of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd Baba Ramdev and Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna on Tuesday, April 16, appeared in person and tendered an “unqualified and unconditional apology” before the Supreme Court for promoting misleading advertisements. The court was hearing a contempt of court case against the company and the duo in a matter about deceptive advertisements and making statements against allopathic medicine. Ramdev and Balkrishna told the court that Patanjali is also ready to apologise publicly to express remorse.

Clarifying that it has not condoned Ramdev and Balkrishna’s conduct, the Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, said it would consider the unconditional apology tendered. 

Patanjali had earlier assured the Supreme Court that it would not make casual statements claiming the medicinal efficacy of its products or advertise or brand them in violation of laws. The company also said that it would not release any statement against any system of medicine to the media in any form. But Ramdev and Balkrishna continued the publication of misleading advertisements and held a press conference immediately after Patanjali’s lawyer furnished this undertaking before the apex court in November last year.

Citing contempt, the bench criticised Patanjali’s shootdown of other treatments and medicines. “Will you say that other forms of medicine are not ‘up to the mark’ and ‘should be discarded’? Why would you say that?” asked the bench. In response, Ramdev submitted that he had no intention to breach the undertaking furnished before the Supreme Court. He said that Patanjali was only promoting Ayurveda as an evidence-based medicine system and not trying to dismiss any other branch of medicine. “We tender an unconditional and unqualified apology for whatever mistake we made,” reads Ramdev’s submission.

Ramdev further said that he should have not made such public statements and assured that he would be more careful in the future. “We did this out of excitement, we won't do it again,” he added. Expressing regret, Acharya Balkrishna also submitted that the statements defaming other medicines were not intentional and that care will be taken to not repeat this. 

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the contemnors, said that Patanjali would take voluntary steps to demonstrate its bonafide intentions and requested that the matter be listed after one week. The bench has adjourned the hearing till April 23 to allow them an opportunity to redeem their acts. Ramdev and Balkrishna are instructed to appear in person for the next hearing as well.

During an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court had criticised the Union government for remaining silent while Patanjali Ayurved brazenly promoted misleading advertisements about their products claiming that they can “cure Coronavirus fever”. The Indian Medical Association subsequently filed a petition against Ramdev for his smear campaign against doctors, modern medicine, and the COVID-19 vaccination drive in 2021 after Ramdev claimed that modern medicine is a “scam.” 

(With inputs from IANS)

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