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Patanjali Misleading Ads Case: ‘Ready to Give Public Apology,’ Says Baba Ramdev

'It should not have been done...won't do so in future," Baba Ramdev said to the Supreme Court on 16 April.

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The Supreme Court has granted Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna (Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved), a week's time to tender a public apology for violating their undertaking to the court and continuing to publish misleading advertisements.

Hearing the the plea filed by the Indian Medical Association on 21 November 2023, the Supreme Court had asked Patanjali Ayurved Limited to immediately stop all false and misleading advertisements.

Notably, while hearing matter earlier this month, the top court had refused to accept two affidavits of apology filed by them, calling it 'mere lip service'.

In the last hearing, the Court also pulled up the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authorities for failing to take action against Patanjali despite the firm violating the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (1954), as well as the apex court's order.

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'No Action Taken in Last 2 Years'

Several complaints have been filed against Patanjali Ayurved Limited over the last two years for repeatedly printing misleading claims and advertisements to promote their products.

An affidavit filed by the Union Ayush Ministry with the Supreme Court on 19 March indicates that despite serving multiple letters and notices to the State Licencing Authority (SLA) of Uttarakhand, no action was taken against Patanjali Ayurved in the last two years.

Along with the affidavit, the Ministry also attached a letter sent from the Licensing Officer, Ayurvedic and Unani Services, Uttarakhand on 12 March that read:

"...various letters have been issued to the relevant drug inspectors/district Ayurvedic and Unani officers in Haridwar to take necessary action against the violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act 1954 by the company."

The letter or the affidavit doesn't, however, address what actions were taken by the drug inspectors or what follow-up action was taken by the SLA for non-compliance with respect to these letters sent to the drug Inspectors.

The letter stated that a warning was issued to the company after the apex court passed the interim order to immediately stop the advertisements of the relevant medicines on 27 February, and that "further action against the firm will be subject to the order/Judgement of the Honorable SC."

While hearing the case on 10 April, the court came down heavily on the Uttarakhand SLA, saying that the SLA took no action apart from "pushing the file", merely trying to "pass on the buck" to "somehow delay the matter," reported Live Law.

What now?

The matter will next be heard on 23 April. Both Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna have been asked to be present in court on the next date of the hearing as well.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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