Updated April 23rd, 2024 at 12:33 IST

Supreme Courts Grills Ramdev and Balkrishna on ‘Apology Size’ compared to its Ads

The conflict escalated after Ramdev's disparaging remarks about allopathy, prompting legal action from the IMA.

Reported by: Business Desk
Representational | Image:ANI/ PTI
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SC on Patanjali: In yet another hearing of the case of the misleading ad by Patanjali at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a day after when Patanjali offered a public apology in national dallies, the court questioned the size and prominence of the apology published by the company in newspapers and said, “Apology Same Size As Ads?.”

“Cut the actual newspaper clippings and keep them handy. For you to photocopy by enlarging, it may not impress us. I want to see the actual size of the ad,” Justice Hima Kohli said.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Patanjali founders Ramdev and Balkrishna, stated that a new set of apologies had been submitted to the court. However, the bench raised concerns about the timing of the apologies, emphasising that they should have been submitted earlier.

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Faultlines in the FMCG Sector

During the hearing, Justice Hima Kohli also shed light on the whole FMCG sector. Justice Kohli said, “ Not just limited to respondents before this court, but other FMCGs also publishing misleading ads taking the public for a ride, in particular, affecting the health of babies, school-going children and senior citizens...who have been consuming their products.”

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Justice Kohli went on to add and said that several other FMCGs are going that way...Union has to answer where the fault line is.

Cost of Apology

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Responding to queries about the apologies' visibility and font size, Rohatgi mentioned that Patanjali had incurred a cost of Rs 10 lakh for publishing the apologies in 67 newspapers. However, the court expressed indifference towards the expenses incurred by the company, focusing instead on the sincerity and prominence of the apology.

Hours before today's Supreme Court hearing, Patanjali Ayurved issued an apology in national dailies, reiterating its respect for the court and pledging not to repeat its mistakes. This move followed the court's admonishment of Ramdev and Balkrishna for the company's misleading claims regarding diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Dismissal of Apology
Despite previous apologies from Ramdev and Balkrishna being dismissed by the court as insincere, Patanjali's recent ad expressed regret for the errors in publishing advertisements and holding press conferences. The company assured that it would refrain from repeating such mistakes in the future.


Allopathy Vs Ayurveda
The case stems from Patanjali's controversial launch of Coronil, a drug touted as a COVID-19 remedy, which triggered a dispute with the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The conflict escalated after Ramdev's disparaging remarks about allopathy, prompting legal action from the IMA and scrutiny from the Supreme Court.

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In light of Patanjali's persistent dissemination of misleading information despite warnings from the court, the matter has escalated to potential contempt proceedings. The court has demanded explanations from Patanjali regarding its continued defiance and misleading advertisements, signalling a rigorous stance against such practices.

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Published April 23rd, 2024 at 11:55 IST