We Are Prepared To Go To Any Extent, We Will Show What Supreme Court Is, Factories Will Be Locked Up And No Court Will Entertain Any Plea: Read Supreme Court's Outburst Against Patanjali Ayurved
The Supreme Court while dealing with a Writ Petition filed under Article 32 by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) came down heavily on the Patanjali Ayurved conglomerate for persistently disseminating alleged misleading claims and advertisements targeting modern systems of medicine. The Court expressed dissatisfaction with Patanjali Ayurved's ongoing promotion of such misleading information.
The Bench of Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra sternly warned the company co-founded by Baba Ramdev. The Bench also restrained Patanjali Ayurved from issuing "casual statements" to the press in any form.
At the outset, Justice Amanullah told Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, who was representing the Union of India, that advertisements claiming to "cure" must cease immediately. The Bench underscored that it was imperative for the government to take swift and decisive measures to address this issue.
"Mr. Natraj, this has to stop. Even I see it on television, 'cure.' This has to stop. What do you propose? It is clear cut... no ifs and buts. This has to stop. Bigger brands behaving like this?", Justice Amanullah said.
Concurring with the Bench, ASG Natraj said, "In the matter of medicines, there should not be such kind of....". Justice Amanullah replied, "Exactly".
"Has there been tests? You test everything, and what is the result before they certify ....What do you propose? We know that you will give us a good solution, I am confident of that. Give us a solution as a citizen of India", Justice Amanullah told the ASG.
"We won't take it as an adversarial litigation", the ASG said.
"Exactly. That is why I am reposing my faith in you. Come up with some measures which show that the government is active. You have a discussion, and tell the Court's sentiments. We are very clear about this, not even a shade of doubt. This has to stop", observed Justice Amanullah.
Justice Amanullah also said, "We will impose Rs. 1 crore for each product and straightaway tell you to go and lock up the factories. We are prepared to go to any extent. This has to stop. Don't give these things, people die just because of that. Cure for this.. cure for that, unreasonable".
"The way in interviews and all it is castigated that you have been taken for a ride... The whole Government of India will be put under a question mark. Covid- it was all rubbish", Justice Amanullah remarked, seemingly against the Patanjali's or Baba Ramdev's views on COVID-19 and allopathic medicines for the same.
The Court told Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya appearing for Patanjali, "Better tell your client from today itself... One crore and immediately... we will say right here, by telephone, Mr. Nataraj will say and it will be sealed by the District Magistrate. And no Court will entertain any plea. The time has come, we have to show what the Supreme Court and the law is. I am prepared to go the last mile. Tell your client, I have no misgivings about it. I am very clear, I going to take it the last. From today itself."
The Court told the Petitioner's Counsel that the moment the Court feels that the Petitioner is targeting somebody, they will be visited with cost. "Don't lose the Court", Justice Amanullah told the Petitioner. The Bench said that the blatant incident that has come to the Court's notice will be the test case.
The ASG then submitted that if the Petitioner is treating the issue as a cause, then the Centre can step in and that the matter should not be about the individual fight between the Petitioner and Patanjali. He said that he will raise a preliminary objection otherwise.
The Bench also expressed its reluctance to turn the matter into a debate of "Allopathy vs. Ayurveda".
Accordingly, the Court ordered, "After some arguments, at the request of the Court, KM Natraj, learned ASG, very fairly submitted that he may be permitted to take instructions after full consultation with the authorities with regard to checking of misrepresentation on various products with regards to the medicinal efficacy, as also statements which have been released to the media both electronic and paper in this matter, confined to the Respondent No. 5 (Patanjali Ayurved)."
Continuing the Court ordered, "Learned Counsel appearing for the Respondent No. 5 assures that there shall not be any violation of any law, especially relating to the branding of the products being manufactured and marketed by them and also no casual statements will be released to the press in any form." Asking the ASG Natraj to come up with a better response, the Court ordered the matter to be listed in the first week of February.
The Court then orally told Senior Advocate P S Patwalia who appeared for the Petitioner that it is focused on the cause and on any individual. Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya then requested that the part of the order where the Court says that the issue is confined to Patanjali be corrected to say that the matter is not confined to Patanjali. Justice Amanullah said that Patanjali's case will be used as a test case, something to begin with for the present and that the exercise will not be limited to Patanjali.
The IMA filed a writ petition expressing apprehensions about what they characterize as an "uninterrupted, systematic, and unchecked dissemination of misinformation" concerning allopathy and the contemporary medical system. In the petition, it is contended that Patanjali's misleading advertisements not only undermine allopathy but also assert false claims regarding the cure of specific diseases.
Cause Title: Indian Medical Association v. Union Of India [W.P.(C) No. 000645 - / 2022]