SC reprimands Patanjali for trying to discredit allopathy, warns of heavy penalty

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Center to come up with a comprehensive mechanism to stop misleading advertisements making unverified claims to cure all kinds of ailments, even as it reprimanded yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his business entity Patanjali Ayurved Limited for having made disparaging remarks against modern medicine. and discrediting his supporters.

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

A bench led by Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah said: “This is a flagrant violation of the law what you are doing (Patanjali). We will take it very seriously if you continue to do this and also impose the cost to the extent of 1 crore for each product”.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) seeking an injunction against all misleading advertisements claiming to have a cure for all diseases and discrediting doctors in the process by questioning the efficacy of the allopathic medicines. The petition made Patanjali Ayurved as one of the respondents referring to an advertisement published in July last year in leading newspapers, which claimed that the health benefits claimed by allopathy “are not seen in everywhere” and those who depend on it suffer from “hell pains”. of negative health effects.

The court said it did not intend to enter into a debate on whether allopathy is superior or ayurveda and asked the Center 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, which also included justice PK Mishra. Postponing the matter to February 5, the bench asked additional solicitor general (ASG) KM Nataraj to handle the issue in a holistic manner where citizens are not misled by these false claims.

Also read: SC notice on Baba Ramdev’s request to club FIRs for comment on allopathy Covid-19

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

The IMA had in its petition reproduced a series of statements made by the yoga guru which are patently 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 with advocate Prabhas Bajaj said, “Patanjali claims to have a permanent solution for lifestyle 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 an unabated disinformation campaign against allopathy continues with complete inaction and indifference by state authorities.

Under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objective Advertisements) Act, 1954, publication of such advertisements is prohibited. Section 3 of the 1954 Act prohibits any advertisement that claims to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent any of the diseases involving lifestyle diseases.

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

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

In another public event in May 2021, during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic, Ramdev called allopathy a “stupid and failed science” and falsely claimed that more than 1,000 doctors had died after taking the medicine. two doses of the vaccine.

The IMA had also registered criminal cases against Ramdev and Patanjali for their false claims in several states. Ramdev has approached the Supreme Court in a separate suit seeking consolidation of all criminal cases into a single venue. Also, a defamation case filed by IMA against Ramdev is pending before the Delhi High Court.

Ramdev filed an affidavit in response in January this year before the Supreme Court indicating that in June 2021 he had hailed the practitioners of modern medicine as the messengers of God and appealed to people to be vaccinated.

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