Tuesday 27 February 2024

Supreme Court Slams Patanjali for Misleading Ads, Issues Contempt Notice

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed Patanjali Ayurved and its Managing Director, Acharya Balakrishnan, for "misleading advertisements" and issued a contempt notice against them. The court also banned the company from advertising any products related to diseases or disorders.

The apex court took this stringent action while hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) accusing Patanjali of running advertisements that make false claims about curing various ailments.

"Entire Country Taken for a Ride": Supreme Court

Expressing strong disapproval, the court stated that "the entire country was being taken for a ride" through such misleading advertisements. This harsh criticism highlights the severity of the court's concerns regarding the potential public health impact of these ads.

Contempt Notice and Prior Warnings

Patanjali and Acharya Balakrishnan have been granted three weeks to respond to the contempt notice. Notably, the court had previously warned Patanjali in November 2023 that they would face a ₹1 crore fine for making false claims of "curing" diseases in their advertisements.

Despite Warnings, Patanjali Continues Offending:

The court further criticized Patanjali for continuing to release advertisements despite the warnings issued last year. The bench specifically mentioned that despite being cautioned, Patanjali continued to claim their products were superior to "chemical-based medicines."

Notices Issued to Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan:

The court also issued contempt notices to Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, who were featured in the advertisements. This action broadens the scope of the case and suggests the court's intent to hold all parties involved accountable.

IMA Highlights Specific Violations:

The IMA, represented by Senior Advocate P.S. Patwalia, presented specific examples of Patanjali's alleged violations. These included a press conference by Baba Ramdev and advertisements claiming to cure various diseases like diabetes and asthma, which would contravene established laws.

The advocate also mentioned a defamation case filed by Patanjali against the Advertising Council, suggesting a potential conflict with regulatory bodies involved in overseeing advertising practices.

This case highlights the ongoing concerns about misleading advertisements within the Indian healthcare sector. The Supreme Court's actions demonstrate its commitment to protecting consumers and upholding ethical advertising standards.

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