Stop misleading ads or face up to Rs 1-crore fine: SC to Baba Ramdev's Patanjali
The court said it will consider imposing costs of up to Rs 1 crore on every product for which a false claim is made that it can cure a particular disease
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (November 21) admonished Patanjali Ayurveda, a company co-founded by yoga guru Ramdev and dealing in herbal products, cautioning it against misleading advertisements and false claims targeting modern medicines and vaccinations.
An apex court bench of Justices Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Prashant Kumar Mishra warned Patanjali that it would be fined Rs 1 crore if a false claim is made that its products can “cure” certain diseases. The court’s caveat came in response to an Indian Medical Association (IMA) plea. The SC also issued directions to Patanjali to refrain from publishing any misleading advertisements in the future. The court said that Patanjali must ensure that it desists from making casual statements in the press.
“All false and misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved have to stop immediately. This court will take such infractions very seriously and will consider imposing costs of up to Rs 1 crore on every product for which a false claim is made that it can cure a particular disease,” Livelaw quoted Justice Amanullah saying.
The top court asked the counsel appearing for the Centre to find a remedy to the issue of misleading medical advertisements where claims are being made about medicines that offer perfect cures for certain diseases. The bench will now take up the plea of IMA for hearing on February 5, next year.
IMA had referred to several advertisements that allegedly projected the allopath and the doctors in a poor light, saying that “disparaging” statements have also been made by firms, engaged in the production of ayurvedic medicines, to mislead the general public.
These commercials say that the medical practitioners themselves are dying despite taking modern medicines, the counsel for the IMA had said. IMA had said that a concerted effort was being made to discourage the vaccinations, including the COVID-19 jab drive, and the use of allopathic medicines in the country.
IMA further contended that the claims by Patanjali are unverified and are in direct violation of laws such as the Drugs and Other Magic Remedies Act, 1954, and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
Earlier, on August 23, 2022, the top court had issued notices to the Union Health Ministry and Ministry of Ayush and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, on the plea of the IMA alleging a smear campaign by Ramdev against the vaccination drive and modern medicines.
(With inputs from agencies)