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Stopped sale of 14 suspended products: Patanjali tells Supreme Court

Advertisement industry should not suffer due to orders against company, says court

Patanjali Ayurved

Bhavini Mishra New Delhi

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Patanjali Ayurved on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it has stopped selling 14 products whose manufacturing licences were suspended by a state authority in Uttarakhand in April.

The company, founded by yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, told a bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Sandeep Mehta it has asked 5,606 franchise stores to withdraw the products.

The court told the company to file an affidavit in two weeks confirming that advertisements for its banned medicines have been removed from media platforms. It stressed that the advertisement industry should not suffer due to its earlier directions telling advertisers to file self-declaration forms on the nature of ads.

The court had in May told broadcasters to file the self-declaration on the Broadcast Seva portal run by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B Ministry). It ordered the central government to set up a new portal for filing such self-declaration forms for advertisements in print media.

Television, radio, and internet associations then filed applications to intervene in the proceedings, saying the court's directions would affect the advertising industry.

The court on Tuesday told the Centre to meet with stakeholders and senior I&B Ministry officials to resolve issues faced by advertisers. It also said that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs should be made a party.

"We are also of the opinion that the industry (advertisement industry) should not suffer in any manner. The focus of this court has already been highlighted in previous orders and needs no repetition. The Ministry is directed to continue the churning of ideas and have further meetings in this direction and file an affidavit making its recommendations," said the bench.

As multiple parties were connected to the case, the scope of the petition has expanded beyond misleading advertisements, the court observed and appointed lawyer Shadan Farasat as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist it in the matter.

 
IMA chief apologises

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said its president, Dr R V Asokan, has apologised for his remarks, which were made in an interview, about the court’s observations in the Patanjali case. The association said that Asokan has published the apology on the IMA's website and in its monthly journal.

The court is hearing a petition filed by the IMA against Patanjali advertisements that attacked allopathy and made claims about curing certain diseases. It has reserved an order in the misleading advertisements case.

The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority had earlier told the court that it had suspended the manufacturing licences of 14 products of Patanjali Ayurved.


 
Background

The court is hearing a petition filed by the IMA against Patanjali’s advertisements attacking allopathy and making claims about curing certain diseases.

Its order in the ongoing contempt proceedings against Yoga Guru Ramdev, his aide Balkrishna, and Patanjali Ayurved in the misleading advertisements case is reserved.

With multiple stakeholders in the case, the court will hear the contempt case on August 6 and the main case with new petitions on July 30.

Social media influencers and celebrities also found themselves in the thick of the Supreme Court’s lens as the court on May 7 said that they’ll share equal responsibility for endorsing products or services in misleading advertisements.

It all started on November 21, 2023, when Patanjali Ayurved co-founders Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna had assured the court that they would not make any “casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine”.

But, just a day later, on November 22, Ramdev held a press conference saying remedies for blood pressure were “lies spread by allopathy”.

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First Published: Jul 09 2024 | 4:39 PM IST

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