The Supreme Court on Tuesday warned Yoga guru Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved that an exemplary fine of Rs 1 crore would be imposed for every “misleading” advertisement by the company about permanent cure through its various medicines.
The court asked the Centre to find a “viable solution” to prevent “misleading” medical advertisements.
A bench of Justices Ahsannuddin Amanullah and Prashant Kumar Mishra, while allowing additional solicitor-general K.M. Natraj to seek necessary instructions from the government on finding a viable solution to the issue after consultations with various stakeholders, orally warned: “All false and misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved have to stop immediately. This court will take any such infraction very seriously.”
It added: “The court will consider imposing exemplary cost to the extent of Rs 1 crore on every such product regarding which such a misleading claim is made.”
The bench made the observation while addressing Natraj for the Centre, senior advocate Sajan Poovayya for Patanjali Ayurved and senior lawyer P.S. Patwali for the petitioner Indian Medical Association (IMA) during a brief hearing.
The written order had not been uploaded till the time of filing the report.
The apex court made the oral observations while dealing with the petition filed by the IMA last year in which it had assailed the publicity blitzkrieg by Patanjali Ayurved claiming permanent relief for various ailments through its product and at the same time denigrating allopathy medicines.
In August last year, a bench headed by then Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana had orally expressed concern over the alleged misleading advertisement campaign by Patanjali claiming cure for various ailments and at the same time questioning the efficacy of allopathy science and the pharma industry.
Justice Ramana had observed that while Ramdev had certainly popularised the concept of yoga, yet at the same time, he cannot criticise other systems of medicines.
The IMA in its petition had accused Ramdev of carrying out a systematic campaign through misleading advertisements in the mainstream and social media to promote his own herbal product and disparage the allopathy system as being unviable. The misleading claims of herbal cure for various ailments including for Covid-related problems were in violation of the Drugs and Other Magic Remedies Act, 1954, the IMA had said.