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SC comes down heavily upon Baba Ramdev; rejects apology in contempt case

By Jhanak Singh      02 April, 2024 05:23 PM      0 Comments
SC comes down heavily upon Baba Ramdev rejects apology in contempt case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily upon the Centre, Patanjali Ayurved and Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case, related to advertisements issued on cure of various diseases.

Also Read -  SC seeks personal appearance of Baba Ramdev before court for failing to respond to contempt notice

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah rejected the apology sought to be presented by Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and gave one last opportunity to him and others for the purpose.

Taking up a petition filed by Indian Medical Association, the court found the apology is "perfunctory and mere a lip service" and there was "absolute defiance and belligerence" by him.

The bench also pulled up the Union government as to why it kept its eyes shut to the claims made by Patanjali Ayurved over its claim made on curing diseases.

"Both the central government and state governments were "complicit" with it in their activities," the bench orally observed.

The court also observed in view of Baba Ramdev's standing in society and massive followers, his responsibility is more onerous than a common citizen.

"We are taking it very seriously. The purpose of law is to make majesty of law prevails. Disparaging other field of medicines is unacceptable," the bench said.

Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, who were personally present in the court.

Their counsel said that they wanted to apologise for their failure to file affidavit in the matter.

Also Read -  Patanjali Ayurved's Acharya Balkrishna tenders unqualified apology for misleading advertisements

Senior advocate Balbir Singh, appearing for Baba Ramdev, sought to present the affidavit across the bar and tender the apology but the court declined to consider it.

"You have to abide by the undertaking given to the Court. You have broken every barrier.Now to say that you are sorry is not acceptable," the bench told Singh.

Singh then said, "I can say with folded hands that the gentleman is present in the court and the court may record his apology."

"You should have made sure that the solemn undertaking should have been in letter and spirit. We can also say that we are sorry for not accepting it. Your apology is not persuading this court. It is more of a lip service,” the bench told Singh.

During the hearing, the bench also expressed displeasure over a statement by Patanjali MD's affidavit that the Drugs and Cosmetics (Magic Remedies) Act is archaic.

"Should we assume every Act, which is archaic is not to be enforced. When there is an Act which governs the field, you violated with impunity...If science has made progress, what did you do to make representation with the government," the bench said.

The court also expressed its strong disapproval over the press conference held by Baba Ramdev after the SC's previous order and publication of advertisements.

"You are in teeth of undertaking given by your organisation, you went with Press Conference, your advertisement came after two months," the bench said.

The court also rejected a submission by senior advocate Vipin Sanghvi that the advertisements were issued by the media department, which was unaware of the proceedings before the court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted that whatever has happened should not have happened. He suggested that he would sit with the counsel and prepare the affidavit to be filed in the court.

"We are wondering why the Union of India kept its eyes shut," the bench said.

Mehta also referred to reliefs being sought by the petitioner IMA, including that the allopathy can't be criticised, contending there can be people who can say only Ayurveda and Homoeopathic streams are better way of treatment and even within Allopathy, there can be criticism by one department against the other.

The bench said it would consider those assertions when it would examine the main matter.

The court finally gave one last opportunity to the parties to file their affidavit within a week in the matter and fixed the matter for consideration on April 10.

The court also sought an explanation from the Uttarakhand government on why no action has been taken against Baba Ramdev and Patanjali for their misleading ads. "State is not discharging its duties," the bench said.

In November, 2023, the Supreme Court had cautioned Patanjali Ayurved against making "false" and "misleading" claims in advertisements about its medicines.

In its order, the bench again directed both Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing.


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