The Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta today objected to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) being a party in Baba Ramdev's plea seeking a stay on proceedings in multiple FIRs lodged over his alleged remarks against the use of allopathic medicines during COVID-19 pandemic.

Tushar Mehta submitted before the Supreme Court, "Indian Medical Association, they are opposing Ayurveda, which I will be opposing seriously. They have no place here. Let it be between the complainant and the prosecution. We don't want strangers to come here and....."

The Court was hearing a plea by Baba Ramdev seeking protection against coercive action in Criminal proceedings initiated against him for his alleged remarks questioning the efficacy of modern medicines like remdesivir and fabiflu and linking them with COVID-19 deaths. Baba Ramdev's Petition seeks the consolidation and transfer of FIRs to Delhi, along with a halt to proceedings in multiple cases against him and protection from coercive actions related to FIRs filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Patna and Raipur branches.

A controversy arose when a 140-second-long video surfaced showing Baba Ramdev allegedly criticizing modern medicines, claiming their failure to treat COVID-19 patients. His comments led to a legal notice from the IMA and subsequent registration of FIRs, including one in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. The complaints alleged that Ramdev propagated false information and made threatening statements on social media regarding medicines used in COVID-19 treatment. It highlighted several social media videos where Ramdev allegedly made misleading statements about these medicines.

The Bench of Justice M.M. Sundresh and Justice Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale today granted two weeks for the State of Bihar to file their response. The Court noted that the investigation is over and a charge sheet has been filed.

Further noting that this is a case of 2021, Justice Sundresh asked the Counsel for the State of Bihar to file their Affidavit.

Counsel appearing for IMA submitted that the complainants are not impleaded in the matter. "The complainants are two IMA's of Bihar and Chhattisgarh. They are autonomus bodies registered as societies by themselves," he submitted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, along with Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj appeared for the Union of India. It was then that the Solicitor General submitted that the Indian Medical Association is opposing Ayurveda itself and the Centre will be opposing such approach.

"We don't want strangers to come here", SG Mehta added.

The Counsel for IMA clarified that they have been impleaded by the Petitioner and submitted, "I have not come here on my own. Petitioner has impleaded me."

Tushar Mehta then said, looking towards Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave appearing for Baba Ramdev, "Please delete him". The Bench and the other lawyers laughed at this remark by the SG.

Justice Sundresh clarified, "Meanwhile, if you (Baba Ramdev) want relief then you will have to implead the complainants also."

"Alright, I'll call it after vacation. Meanwhile, the Petitioner is given liberty to add the informant," the Court ordered. Accordingly, the Court scheduled the matter for further consideration after summer vacation in July.

Pertinently, on October 9, 2023, the Court had issued notice in Ramdev's plea for protection. The Court had sought the responses of the Central government, the States of Bihar and Chhattisgarh, and the IMA.

In related news, earlier, this week, the Apex Court once again told Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved, who had appeared in person before the Court and addressed it, that questioning Allopathy is a violation of law and should not be done.

Earlier, in April, Tushar Mehta appearing for the Union of India, told the Court that Allopathy is not beyond criticism and that a person cannot be stopped from saying that Ayurveda is more efficient.

Cause Title: Swami Ram Dev v. Union of India & Ors. [W.P. (Crl.) No. 000265-2021]