New Delhi. The Supreme Court on Tuesday urged the Center to come up with a comprehensive mechanism to stop misleading advertisements that make unverified claims to cure all kinds of ailments, even as it reprimanded yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his commercial outfit Patanjali Ayurved Limited for modern for making disparaging remarks against medicine. and discrediting its proponents.
The bench headed by Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah said; “It is a clear violation of the law what you (Patanjali) are doing. We will take it very seriously if you continue to do this and even charge as much as you are ₹:1 million on each product.
The court was dealing with a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) seeking an injunction against all misleading advertisements claiming to cure all diseases and discrediting doctors in the process by casting doubt on the efficacy of allopathic medicines. The petition made Patanjali Ayurveda one of the respondents, citing an advertisement published in leading newspapers in July last year, which said that the health benefits claimed by allopathy were “nowhere to be seen” and people addicted to it were suffering from “hell pains”. about adverse health effects.
The court said it did not intend to enter into a debate on the supremacy of allopathy or Ayurveda and asked the Center to come up with a “comprehensive solution” to address all kinds of misleading claims.
“We want to find a genuine solution to the problem of misleading advertisements making false claims that it can cure a particular disease,” said a bench also comprising Justice P.K. Mishra. Posting the matter on February 5, the court asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Nataraj to resolve the issue in a holistic manner where citizens are not misled by these false claims.
Read also: SC notice on Baba Ramdev’s plea to club FIRs on allopathy comment on Covid-19
Senior advocate Sajan Puovaya appeared for Patanjali and said the petition tried to suppress many facts and presented selective statements of the company and Baba Ramdev. In its order, the court recorded Powaya’s statement that the company would not publish any misleading statement or make any incidental statement to the press regarding the issue raised before it in the petition.
The IMA in its petition had reproduced a series of statements made by the yoga guru which are patently false and accused him of running a systematic campaign to abuse doctors and create doubts in people’s minds about allopathy.
Senior Advocate P.S. Patwalia, appearing for the IMA along with advocate Prabas Bajaj, said: “Patanjali claims to have a permanent solution for lifestyle disorders, incurable, chronic and genetic diseases, skin diseases, arthritis, cervical spondylitis, asthma and others that violate. of the law”. The IMA alleged that such an unrelenting disinformation campaign against allopathy continues with complete inaction and indifference on the part of the state authorities.
Under the Medicines and Magical Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954, publication of such advertisements is prohibited. Section 3 of the 1954 Act prohibits any advertisement that claims to diagnose, treat, alleviate, cure or prevent any of the diseases associated with lifestyle diseases.
Patanjali’s claim to eradicate asthma was in direct contradiction to the 1945 to the drugs and cosmetics rules, the petition said.
The doctors’ association told the court that while every commercial entity like Patanjali Ayurved has the right to promote its own products, the continuous, systematic and unabated spread of misinformation about allopathy must be stopped. 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.
At another public event in May 2021, at the height of the second wave of the epidemic, Ramdev called allopathy a “stupid and bankrupt science” and falsely claimed that more than 1,000 doctors had died after receiving two doses of the vaccine.
The IMA had also registered criminal cases against Ramdev and Patanjali in several states over his false claims. Ramdev had approached the Supreme Court in separate proceedings to consolidate all the criminal cases into one place. Besides, a defamation suit filed by IMA against Ramdev is pending in the Delhi High Court.
In response, Ramdev filed an affidavit in the high court in January this year, stating that in June 2021, he hailed practitioners of modern medicine as messengers of God and urged people to get vaccinated.
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