Patanjali, Balkrishna, Ramdev: Centre Replies To Court On Patanjali: Person’s Choice

New Delhi:

It is a person’s choice to avail health services under Ayush or allopathic medicine, and denigration of any system should be discouraged, the Centre has told Supreme Court in its reply in the misleading advertisements case against Patanjali Ayurved and its founders, Yoga guru Ramdev and his aide Balkrishna.

This comes after the Supreme Court pulled up the Patanjali founders and said the company’s advertisements are in the “teeth of law”. The court came down heavily on Ramdev and Balkrishna for not filing proper affidavits. It also refused to accept an apology filed by Patanjali last month, noting that it is “not persuading this court” and “is more of a lip service”. The court then asked Ramdev and Balkrishna to return today with fresh affidavits. Ramdev has now reached the Supreme Court.  

The Supreme Court had also fielded tough questions to the central government. “We are wondering why the government chose to keep their eyes shut,” it said last week.

The Centre’s reply says that states are the empowered authority to act against advertisements claiming magic remedies. However, the Centre has taken up the matter in a timely manner as per the law, it said. Referring to Patanjali’s claim that it had developed a drug, Coronil, as a cure for Covid-19, the affidavit says the company had been told not to put out such advertisements till the matter is examined by the Ayush Ministry.

The Centre’s reply says that after a detailed interdisciplinary process, the State Licensing Authority was informed that Coronil tablet “may only be considered as supporting measure in Covid-19”. It also says that the Centre has taken proactive steps with regard to false claims for Covid cure. States and Union Territories have been asked to stop ads of Ayush-related claims for Covid treatment.

The Centre’s affidavit says that its existing policy advocates a model of “integrative healthcare system with integration of Ayush systems with allopathy”. “It is the choice of a person or a healthcare seeker to avail services of Ayush system or Allopathic medicine. Government encourages to utilize the strengths of each healthcare system for betterment of overall health of its citizens in a holistic manner.

“Therefore, it is most respectfully submitted that denigration of a system of medicine by the practitioner(s) of other system(s) of medicines as they lack the complete understanding of other system of medicine and this should be discouraged in public interest and mutual respect,” the Centre’s reply said.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) approached the Supreme Court in 2022, flagging “false” and “misleading” claims in Patanjali’s advertisements. IMA had referred to several advertisements which allegedly projected the allopathy and the doctors in poor light. These ads say medical practitioners are dying despite taking modern medicines, IMA’s counsel had said.

The government of Uttarakhand, where Patanjali Yogpeeth is based, has also filed an affidavit in Supreme Court, stating that it has been vigilant and has taken appropriate steps to ensure legal compliance by Patanjali. The state government has said Patanjali was sent multiple notices, but it sought refuge under a 2019 interim order of Bombay High Court.

Assuring action, the Uttarakhand government said it is aware of the gravity of the situation. “The State Authorities will take all due steps against Divya Pharmacy and/or Patanjali Ayurved Limited, as per procedure prescribed in law and/or as per directions of this Hon’ble Court,” it said.

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