Supreme Court appreciates ‘marked improvement’ in public apology by Ramdev, Balkrishna, Patanjali

The apex court is hearing a plea by the IMA alleging a smear campaign against the Covid vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine.


Published Apr 30, 2024 | 6:48 PMUpdatedApr 30, 2024 | 6:50 PM

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 30 April, appreciated the “marked improvement” in the unconditional public apology published in newspapers by yoga guru Ramdev, his aide Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd in the misleading advertisements case.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah told senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ramdev, Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, that the language of the apology was adequate and the names were also there in it.

“I don’t know the second apology is on whose vetting. There has been marked improvement,” Justice Amanullah said, adding, “We appreciate that. Now finally they have understood.”

He said earlier when the apology was published, only the company’s name was there.

Also Read: ‘Did it in excitement’, Ramdev on Patanjali ads 

Appreciates the apology

“Now the names have come. It is a marked improvement, we appreciate that,” Justice Amanullah observed, adding, “The language is adequate.”

During the hearing, the apex court asked the firm’s counsel as to why they had e-filed the apology published in newspapers when the court had on 23 April specifically asked that the original has to be filed.

“This is not compliance of our order,” Justice Kohli observed.

“There is too much of communication gap Mr Rohatgi… Speaking for myself, I raise my hands now. Too much of an indulgence,” Justice Amanullah said.

The bench noted in its order that the firm’s lawyer has conceded that there has been some misunderstanding of the orders passed by the court by his briefing counsel and one more opportunity be given to comply with the order by filing the original page of each newspaper in which the public apology has been published.

“The registry is directed to accept the said document when filed,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on May 7.

Rohatgi sought exemption from personal appearance for Ramdev and Balkrishna for the next date of hearing in the matter.

“The exemption is granted limited to the next date of hearing,” the bench said.

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The plea

The apex court is hearing a plea filed in 2022 by the Indian Medical Association alleging a smear campaign against the Covid vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine.

While hearing the matter on 23 April, the top court had said the public apology published in newspapers was not on record and asked those to be filed within two days.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd had assured the top court on 21 November last year that it would not violate any law, especially those relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it.

It had also assured the bench 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 undertaking and subsequent media statements had irked the bench, which later issued notices to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

On 19 March 19, the top court directed Ramdev and Balkrishna, who is the managing director of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, 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 Ramdev a show cause notice as advertisements issued by Patanjali, which were in the teeth of the undertaking given to the court on 21 November, 2023, reflect an endorsement by him.

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