The Supreme Court of India has issued a strong warning to Patanjali Ayurveda, co-founded by Baba Ramdev, demanding an immediate cessation of “misleading advertisements.” The court, presided over by Justices Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Prashant Kumar Mishra, made it clear that any product making false cure claims would face a substantial penalty of ₹1 crore.
This cautionary statement comes in response to petitions filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Justice Amanullah emphasized the urgency, stating, “All such false and misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurveda have to stop immediately.” The court expressed serious concern over misleading medical advertisements and emphasized severe consequences for any violations.
The bench clarified its position, making it evident that the intention is not to escalate the matter into an “Allopathy v. Ayurveda” debate but to address the issue of misleading medical advertising. Stressing the gravity of the problem, the court directed the Union Government to formulate effective solutions through consultations. Further deliberations on the case are scheduled for February 5, 2024.
The IMA’s petition also accuses Patanjali of contributing to vaccine hesitancy by spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, Baba Ramdev has faced criticism for allegedly mocking citizens seeking oxygen cylinders during the second wave of the pandemic.
In a previous controversy in February, Ramdev suggested a surge in cancer cases post the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at a Patanjali Yog Samiti yoga camp in Goa, he claimed, “Cancer has increased a lot…People have lost their eyesight, their sense of hearing…” Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant shared the stage with Ramdev.
Following these contentious statements, Baba Ramdev sought protection in the Supreme Court after facing criminal charges across multiple states. The court’s stern warning underscores the seriousness with which misleading advertisements, especially in the healthcare domain, are being addressed by the judiciary. The upcoming proceedings on February 5, 2024, will likely shed more light on the legal implications for Patanjali Ayurveda.