Coming down heavily on Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurveda on advertisements against modern medicines and vaccination, the Supreme Court, while asking it not to make any misleading advertisements or false claims, has warned of hefty penalties of Rs1 crore on every product for false or misleading claims in advertisements.
Hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the apex court asked the Union government to come back with a proposal to tackle misleading medical advertisements.
Quoting the bench of justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, a report from LiveLaw.in
says, "All such false and misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurved have to stop immediately. The Court will take any such infraction very seriously, and the Court will also consider imposing costs to the extent of Rs1 crore on every product regarding which a false claim is made that it can 'cure' a particular disease."
The apex court also pulled up Patanjali Ayurveda for its regular advertisement making false claims against evidence-based medicines.
The bench stated that it did not wish to make the issue an allopathy vs ayurveda debate but wanted to find a real solution to the problem of misleading medical advertisements.
Directing Patanjali Ayurved to not publish such advertisements in the future and also to avoid making such claims to the media, SC noted ultimately a solution was needed regarding misleading medical advertisements.
Stating that it is examining the issue seriously, the bench told the additional solicitor general of India (ASG) KM Nataraj that the Union government will have to find a viable solution to tackle the problem. The government was asked to come up with suitable recommendations after consultations. The matter will be considered next on 5 February 2024, the report says.
Last year in August, SC had questioned Baba Ramdev on his attempt to discredit allopathy and its practicing doctors during the coronavirus pandemic. IMA also initiated multiple criminal proceedings against the Yoga guru. He was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).
In May 2021, IMA also wrote to prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi demanding action against Baba Ramdev for his alleged misinformation campaign on vaccination and challenging government protocols for the treatment of COVID-19.
In its letter, IMA says, "Misinformation campaign on vaccination by Patanjali owner Ramdev should be stopped. In a video, he claimed that 10,000 doctors and lakhs of people have died despite taking both doses of vaccine. Action under sedition charges should be taken against him."