Updated April 30th, 2024 at 15:41 IST

'Finally woken up': Supreme Court raps Uttarakhand drug regulator over 'inaction for years'

Uttarakhand Licensing Authority suspended 14 Patanjali products' licences on April 15, citing Rule 159(1) of Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1954.

Reported by: Leechhvee Roy
Supreme Court pulls up Patanjali for misleading ads | Image:Supreme Court, Patanjali

Patanjali contempt case: The Supreme Court while hearing the Patanjali's misleading ad and contempt case, came down heavily on Uttarakhand Licencing Authority and said, 'Finally woken up’ from sleep. 
This follows the suspension of manufacturing licences for 14 products of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd and its sister concern, Divya Pharmacy. 

The Uttarakhand State Licencing Authority, in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, disclosed that the licences were suspended on April 15, citing Rule 159(1) of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1954.  


The Patanjali group also drew Ire from the court for presenting e-copy instead of original records, Justices expressed frustration and said, “This is Not Compliance.”

"I am raising my hands in this case; enough of this non-compliance of our orders," the bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said.

This action was taken promptly after the Supreme Court reprimanded the State Authority on April 10 for its failure to act against Patanjali and Divya Pharmacy for their unlawful advertisements of these products.

Suspended product list

The suspended products include Swasari Gold, Swasari Vati, Bronchom, Swasari Pravahi, Swasari Avaleh, Mukta Vati Extra Power, Lipidom, Bp Grit, Madhugrit, Madhunashini Vati Extra Power, Livamrit Advance, Livogrit, Eyegrit Gold, and Patanjali Drishti Eye Drops.

SC slams SLA

The Supreme Court strongly criticised the Uttarakhand State Licencing Authority (SLA) for its prolonged inaction against Patanjali Ayurved. Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah expressed dismay that the SLA only took action against Patanjali's misleading advertisements after the Court intervened with strictures and strong observations.

"Within 7-8 days you did all that was supposed to do. How do you explain inaction for years? Why violation of orders of superior authorities to conduct inspection. What is your stand to assist the court as counsel. Why for 6 years, everything was in limbo?" the Court asked.

The Court suggested that the SLA only seemed to realise its powers after facing criticism from the Court.

Criminal complaint filed

The SLA, in its recent affidavit, apologised for its previous inaction and stated that it had filed a criminal complaint against Patanjali Ayurved, its Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna, co-founder Baba Ramdev, and Divya Pharmacy under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Haridwar.

Justice Kohli remarked on the SLA's sudden action, stating that they moved swiftly only when compelled to do so by the Court, contrasting it with their years of inertia. Senior Advocate Dhruv Mehta, representing the SLA, detailed the actions taken, including informing the Central government's AYUSH Ministry about the suspension of certain Patanjali products.

Justice Amanaullah remarked on the sudden realisation of power by the concerned authority, highlighting the swift action taken after years of inactivity.

"Not saying we are angry. There has to be transparency between bar and bench. Be careful. Own what you have done, seek apology. Have trust in court that you won't be targeted. We'll not be biased. That's the assurance we give on this side," the apex court said while hearing the matter.

IMA vs Patanjali

This development arises from a case brought forward by the Indian Medical Association, which seeks action against misleading medical advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved. The Supreme Court initiated contempt proceedings against Patanjali Ayurved, Balkrishna, and Ramdev for publishing objectionable advertisements in violation of their undertaking to the Court. 

The bench emphasised that its scrutiny extends beyond Patanjali to all FMCG companies making false health claims about their products, thereby misleading the public.



Published April 30th, 2024 at 12:19 IST