Supreme Court Rejects Patanjali's Apology Again, Raps Uttarakhand Govt For Inaction

The Uttarakhand government faced the wrath of the Supreme Court during the hearing of a case pertaining to misleading ads by Ramdev’s Patanjali. The apex court criticised the Uttarakhand government and slammed the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for inaction, saying, “You (the joint director of the SLA) said thrice that the license would be cancelled, but for two years, you did nothing.”

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah also rejected the apology affidavits submitted by Ramdev and Patanjali managing director Acharya Balkrishna.

The highest court also raised concerns about the alleged lack of action by the Union government regarding Patanjali’s bold assertions regarding the effectiveness of its products and its criticism of allopathy during the peak of the Covid pandemic, questioning why the government opted to remain “blindfolded.”

“The apology appears to be merely a formality,” commented the bench on the affidavits presented by Ramdev and Balkrishna. “They are cornered. We refuse to accept this; we view it as a deliberate breach of their commitment.”

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The apex court is currently reviewing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) accusing a smear campaign against the vaccination drive and modern medicine.

Yesterday, yoga guru Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd’s managing director, Acharya Balkrishna, offered an “unconditional and unequivocal apology” before the Supreme Court.

In separate affidavits submitted to the apex court, Ramdev and Balkrishna extended an unqualified apology for the “violation of the statement” as noted in the Supreme Court’s order dated November 21 of the previous year.

In the November 21, 2023, ruling, the Supreme Court had acknowledged that legal representation from Patanjali Ayurved had assured that “there will be no further violations of any laws, particularly concerning the advertising or branding of its products, and further, that no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any manner.”

The Supreme Court emphasised that Patanjali was obligated to adhere to its commitment. However, following the assurance given to the court, Ramdev conducted a press conference, and Patanjali released an advertisement. This action displeased the court, prompting it to issue a notice to Patanjali, requesting a response from the Ayurvedic company regarding why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

Following this, Ramdev tendered an unconditional apology for the press conference, stating that he would refrain from making public statements that could breach the assurance given to the court. A similar apology was submitted by Patanjali’s managing director, Balkrishna.

However, the court, strongly reprimanding Ramdev and Balkrishna, rejected their apologies, deeming them mere lip service.

On April 2, the Supreme Court had strongly criticised Ramdev and Balkrishna, dismissing their apologies as “lip service.” Prior to this, the court had summoned both individuals to appear physically after Patanjali failed to respond to the notice issued in the case regarding the advertisements of the firm’s products and their medicinal efficacy.

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This story originally appeared in the Free Press Journal and is published here under a mutual content-sharing agreement.

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