“Did it in excitement”, Ramdev on Patanjali ads while promising to make a public apology in Supreme Court

A two-judge bench took note of their apologies, but made it clear that at this stage, it has not decided to "let them off the hook".

BySumit Jha

Published Apr 16, 2024 | 2:16 PMUpdatedApr 16, 2024 | 2:16 PM

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 16 April, granted one-week time to yoga guru Ramdev, his aide Balkrishna, and Patanjali Ayurved to issue a public apology in the misleading advertisements case, but said it was not letting them “off the hook”.

Both Ramdev and Balkrishna were present during the hearing and personally tendered unconditional apologies to the apex court.

A Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah took note of their apologies, but made it clear that at this stage, it has not decided to “let them off the hook”.

When Justice Kohli told Ramdev that “no one has given him the right to shoot down other practices of medicine apart from Ayurveda”, he responded that “it should not have been said. Will keep the practice of evidence-based medicine in mind.”

Justice Kohli also said that in matters of any disease, it is not allowed to advertise about a cure. “No one has ever done an advertisement for a cure. This is irresponsible behaviour. The law is for every citizen of the country.”

“Due to the excitement related to the work (done by us), this has happened. It won’t happen again,” Ramdev assured the court. He added that he had no intention to show disrespect to the court in any manner.

The Bench told Balkrishna while interacting with him, “You are doing good work but you can’t degrade allopathy.”

Also Read: Ramdev, Balakrishna cited non exiting flight ticket to avoid personal appearance

The case

On 19 March, the apex court directed Ramdev and Balkrishna to appear before it after taking exception to the company’s failure to respond to the notice issued in the case relating to advertisements of the firm’s products and their medicinal efficacy.

The top court had said it deemed it appropriate to issue a show cause notice to Ramdev as the advertisements issued by Patanjali, which were in the teeth of the undertaking given to the court on 21 November 2023, reflect his endorsement.

The matter came up for hearing on Tuesday before a Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

The Bench told Balkrishna that they (Patanjali) are not so innocent that they didn’t know what the top court had said in its earlier orders in the case.

“I am willing to give a public apology,” senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ramdev and Balkrishna, told the Bench at the outset.

The apex court asked Ramdev and Balkrishna to come forward for an interaction with the Bench. “They should feel they have a connect with the court,” the Bench said.

The apex court has now posted the matter for further hearing on 23 April.

Also Read: Meet Dr KV Babu, whose RTI crusade led to SC’s rebuke of Ramdev’s Patanjali

The unconditional apology

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

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 21 November 2023 order of the apex court.

In this 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 PTI inputs)

(Edited by Kamna Revanoor)