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Coronil Case: HC Issues Summons to Ramdev, Asks ‘Is He To Blame?’

Court refused to restrain Ramdev from making any statements discrediting allopathic medicines, in favour of Coronil.

Updated
Law
3 min read
The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, 3 June, issued summons to yoga guru and entrepreneur Baba Ramdev, in a plea, seeking to restrain him from spreading false information about Patanjali’s Coronil. Image used for representation purpose.
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The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, 3 June, issued summons to yoga guru and entrepreneur Baba Ramdev, in a plea, seeking to restrain him from spreading false information about Patanjali’s Coronil. The court reportedly, however, asked:

“Is he (Ramdev) to be blamed for people buying Coronil?”

Further, as per Bar and Bench, the court refused to restrain Ramdev from making any statements discrediting allopathic medicines, in favour of Patanjali's Coronil, according to Bar and Bench.

The suit has been filed by the Delhi Medical Association, and is being heard by a Single Judge Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar.

According to Bar and Bench, the court hearing the case said, Ramdev’s is “an opinion” and that “any case founded on prayer for blocking statements has to be tested on anvil of art 19(1)(a)... there is a right... terminology may be offensive..."

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution guarantees all Indian citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The court, however, did orally ask the counsel for Ramdev to tell him not to make any provocative statement till the next date of hearing, and to respond to the suit.

The next date of hearing has been fixed for 13 July.

WHAT ELSE DID THE COURT SAY?

Responding to Delhi Medical Association’s allegation that Ramdev’s statements on Coronil and allopathy were raising issues of "grave importance”, the court reportedly said:

“I don’t think your allopathic profession is so fragile... Someone has a view that it is because of inefficacy of allopathic medicines that so many people have died... I think it comes within Art 19(1)(a).”

Further the court said: "If I feel some science is fake...tomorrow I feel homeopathy is fake...do you mean they will file a suit against me?… It is public opinion… Ramdev is a person… He may be right or wrong.”

When Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta, appearing for the plaintiff, sought a declaration that Coronil is not a COVID-19 cure, pointing out that Ayush Ministry has already said so, the court claimed that the Ministry had not.

“It has not given any finding... So far as I know, to give a declaration...it is an extremely involved process. It will require extensive study and research.”
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Further, as per Bar and Bench, Justice Hari Shankar said, among other things:

  • The court cannot say as to whether Coronil is a cure or not, and that it was something to be decided by medical experts.
  • He was "least concerned" with the argument that Ramdev was a powerful person with a large following.
  • Any case founded on a plea for restraint on statements must be tested on the anvil of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

The court also suggested to the plaintiff association to file a PIL.

WHAT DID PLAINTIFF ASSOCIATION SAY?

The plaintiff association told the court that they have filed a suit for the civil rights of doctors. Further, the plaintiff’s counsel said that Ramdev’s statements are “affecting the members of the plaintiff”.

“...the statements made in open affect...he’s calling doctors names. He’s saying this science is fake. In a pandemic...”

The court also drew to videos and statements made by Ramdev, and said: "He's saying lakhs of people have died because of allopathic medicines given by doctors...he says we are stupid...that it is an insolvent science...at this juncture?”

“We're curing lakhs of people. We are calling warriors today. 600 have died.”

The plaintiff, also, among other things claimed:

  • Ramdev was falsely touting Coronil as a cure for COVID-19
  • The Central government had stated that Coronil was not a cure for COVID-19 and could not be advertised as such. Ramdev too later clarified that it was an immunity booster
  • Patanjail had made Rs 25 crore from Coronil sales, after it was represented as a cure for COVID-19
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WHAT DID RAMDEV’S LAWYER SAY?

Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for Ramdev raised preliminary objection of maintainability of the suit.

As per Bar and Bench, Nayar also pointed out that Ramdev had retracted his statements on 22 May.

(With inputs from Bar and Bench).

(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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