Misleading Patanjali ads: SC asks Ramdev, Balkrishna to issue public apology

Patanjali store in New Delhi. File Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday granted one-week time to yoga guru Ramdev, his aide Balkrishna and Patanjali Ayurved to issue a public apology in the misleading advertisements case, but said it was not letting them "off the hook" now.

Both Ramdev and Balkrishna were present during the hearing and personally tendered an unqualified apology to the apex court.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah took note of their apologies, but made it clear that at this stage it has not decided to "let them off the hook".

"You are doing good work but you can't degrade allopathy," the bench told Balkrishna while interacting with him.

Ramdev, who also interacted with the bench, said he had no intention to show disrespect to the court in any manner.

However, the bench told Balkrishna that they (Patanjali) are not so innocent that they didn't know what the top court had said in its earlier orders in the case.

"I am willing to give a public apology," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ramdev and Balkrishna, told the bench at the outset.

The apex court asked Ramdev and Balkrishna, both of whom were present in the court, to come forward for an interaction with the bench. "They should feel they have a connect with the court," the bench said.

The apex court has now posted the matter for further hearing on April 23.

Ramdev and Balkrishna had last week tendered an "unconditional and unqualified apology" before the top court over advertisements issued by the firm making tall claims about the medicinal efficacy of its products.

In two separate affidavits filed in the court, Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an unqualified apology for the "breach of the statement" recorded in the November 21 last year order of the apex court.

In the November 21, 2023 order, the top court had noted that counsel representing Patanjali Ayurved had assured it that "henceforth there shall not be any violation of any law(s), especially relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it and, further, that no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any form".

The top court had said Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is "bound down to such assurance".

The non-observance of the specific assurance and the subsequent media statements irked the apex court, which later issued a notice to them to explain why contempt proceedings be not initiated against them.

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