Supreme Court slams Patanjali Ayurveda for ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ ads, warns of Rs 1 crore fine per product

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on Patanjali Ayurveda, a herbal products company founded by Yoga Guru Ramdev, for making ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ claims in advertisements about its medicines for various diseases. The court was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which accused Ramdev of campaigning against the vaccination drive and modern medicines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench comprising Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra orally observed, ‘All such false and misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurved have to be stopped immediately. The court will take any such violation very seriously…’ The court also issued notice to the Union Health Ministry and the Ministry of AYUSH and Patanjali Ayurveda Limited and sought their response on the matter.

The court further warned Patanjali Ayurveda that it may impose a fine of Rs 1 crore on each product if it is falsely claimed that it can cure a particular disease. The court asked the counsel representing the Centre to find a solution to the issue of misleading medical advertisements, where claims are being made about medicines that accurately treat certain diseases.

The court also expressed its displeasure over Ramdev’s criticism of allopathy and allopathic practitioners and said that he should be restrained from defaming doctors and other systems of treatment. The court said, ‘What has happened to Guru Swami Ramdev Baba?… We respect him because he popularized yoga. We all do it. But, they should not criticize the other method.’

The court questioned the efficacy and reliability of Ayurveda, the system of medicine that Ramdev promotes, and said, ‘What is the guarantee that Ayurveda, whatever system they are adopting, will work? You see advertisements in which all doctors are accused as if they are murderers.’

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The court adjourned the hearing of the IMA’s petition till February 5 next year. The IMA had cited several advertisements in which allopaths and doctors were allegedly shown in a wrong manner by Patanjali Ayurveda. The IMA had also alleged that Ramdev had spread misinformation and created confusion among the public regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and the role of allopathy in treating the disease.