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SC issues contempt notice to Patanjali restraining them from publishing misleading ads

As per media reports, the Supreme Court of India has issued a contempt of court notice to Patanjali Ayurveda, owned by Baba Ramdev, and its Managing Director, Acharya Balakrishnan, for disobeying its previous directive against deceptive advertisements that claim to cure serious illnesses or disparage allopathy.

Furthermore, the court has temporarily banned Patanjali Ayurveda from marketing or identifying its goods as treating any of the illnesses or conditions listed in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954.

“Respondents are restrained from advertising and branding of their marketed medicinal products specified as treating diseases/ailments as in the rules, until further orders,” a division bench led by Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah reportedly stated in its judgment. They are advised not to criticize any medical system in paper or other media by making any negative remarks.

Judge Ahsanuddin Amanullah remarked, “The entire country is taken for a ride!” in reference to Patanjali’s commercials that made claims about curing major illnesses. 

He emphasized his intent to issue a stringent order, expressing dismay at the advertisement’s content following the Court’s directive and questioning the notion of “permanent relief,” suggesting it could be misinterpreted as a cure, thus implying the Court’s imminent action in response to what was perceived as tempting.

In response to the court’s ruling banning advertisements, Pantanjali’s lawyers contended that the prohibition would have a negative impact on the company’s commercial operations, which also involve the manufacturing of facewashes, toothpaste, and other items. In response, the court made it clear that only goods connected to the diseases listed in the Act would be prohibited from being advertised.

In response to a case filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the court had in November of last year issued a notice to Patanjali directing it not to release any deceptive advertisements or make statements derogatory to allopathy. The IMA had charged Patanjali with disparaging evidence-based medicine in the plea. In its petition, IMA asked the court to regulate the “smear campaign” and derogatory ads directed towards the vaccination campaign and contemporary medications. 

The next hearing in the case is scheduled within two weeks.

Source: Social Samosa

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