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Patanjali misleading ad case: SC grills Ramdev, aide Balkrishna, asks 'was apology same size as ads?'

Patanjali Ayurved, in a Supreme Court hearing regarding misleading advertisements, stated that it had issued apologies in 67 newspapers. They emphasized their utmost respect for the court and assured that such mistakes would not recur.

Patanjali misleading ad case: Supreme Court grills Ramdev, aide Balkrishna, asks 'was apology same size as ads?' anr
First Published Apr 23, 2024, 12:13 PM IST

New Delhi: During a Supreme Court hearing regarding misleading advertisements, Patanjali Ayurved mentioned publishing apologies in 67 newspapers, expressing deep respect for the court. The court queried whether the size of these apologies resembled full-page advertisements for their products. Supreme Court presided over by Justices Hima Kohli & Ahsanuddin Amanullah, expressed dissatisfaction with the size of the apology issued by Patanjali Ayurveda, led by Baba Ramdev, for running misleading advertisements.

Senior Adv Mukul Rohatgi assured that Patanjali will issue larger apologies in newspapers in the future.

In the advertisement, Patanjali apologised for the "mistake of publishing advertisements and holding a press conference even after our advocates made a statement in the apex court". 

Patanjali informed the Supreme Court that the cost of the advertisements amounted to Rs 10 lakh. The court directed Patanjali to compile the advertisements and present them before the bench.

"Do not enlarge them and supply it to us. We want to see the actual size... we want to see that when you issue an ad it does not mean we have to see it by a microscope. It is not meant to be on papers but also read," the court further said.

The Supreme Court had cautioned Ramdev last week against any effort to "disparage allopathy" and instructed Patanjali to issue a "public apology and show contrition" within a week.

The Supreme Court also observed that other Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies were also publishing misleading advertisements, thus deceiving the public.  The top court asked the Centre about the action it has taken against other FMCG companies for giving misleading advertisements.

"This, in particular, is affecting the health of babies, school-going children and senior citizens... who have been consuming their products," Justice Kohli said.

The court emphasized the importance of involving the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in the case to assess the measures taken by the government to prevent the misuse of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act.

The Supreme Court also directed its comments towards the Indian Medical Association (IMA), noting that while the association was accusing Patanjali, it should also consider its own responsibilities.

"Your doctors also endorsing medicines in the allopathic field. If that's happening, why should we not turn the beam at you?"

The Supreme Court deferred the hearing on contempt proceedings against Patanjali founders Ramdev and Balkrishna as they failed to file an affidavit regarding the public apology published in newspapers. The apex court rescheduled the hearing for April 30 and instructed them to be present in court on that day as well.

The court posted the matter for April 30.

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