The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna’s “unconditional apology” in connection with the misleading advertisements of Patanjali’s medicinal products. A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah came down heavily on Patanjali, saying their actions were “wilful, deliberate and repeated violations” of the top court’s orders.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Patanjali founders, said to the bench that people make mistakes in life. However, the top court rebuked the lawyer, responding that in such cases, individuals need to suffer. “We are not blinded…We don’t want to be generous in this case,” the bench noted.

During today’s hearing, when advocate Rohatgi read out two affidavits submitted by Patanjali and its MD – Acharya Balkrishna – and another by Baba Ramdev.

“The apology is on paper. Their back is against the wall. We decline to accept this, we consider it a deliberate violation of undertaking. Be ready for something next to rejection of the affidavit,” The Supreme Court said.

The bench also pulled up Baba Ramdev, mentioning his seeking exemption from court appearance, citing overseas travel plans, and then filing a backdated ticket in the affidavit.

“In contempt matter, when you seek exemption saying I have a ticket to travel abroad, then you are saying I don’t have it? You’re taking the process very lightly,” the bench warned, calling the incident “perjury” in court.

The bench also rapped Patanjali for releasing their apology affidavit first to the public instead of submitting to the court. “They sent it to the media first, till 7.30 pm yesterday it was not uploaded for us. They believe in publicity clearly,” Justice Kohli said.

The Supreme Court also slammed the Uttarakhand government for providing licence for Patanjali products, and said three drug licencing officers should be suspended immediately.

“When they (Patanjali) violated the statement made to you, what did you do? Sit and wiggle your thumbs? You waited for us to prod you?” Justice Kohli asked.

Addressing senior advocate Dhruv Mehta, who argued for Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority, Justice Amanullah warned that he the authorities won’t be let free. “We have strong objection to use of word ‘bonafide’ for officers. We are not going to take lightly. We will rip you apart,” Justice Amanullah said.

The bench rebuked the licensing authority saying that the Supreme Court has become a “mockery now”. “People think we sit in ivory towers. Your officers should be hauled up. You are in hands-in gloves with Patanjali,” the top court added.

Uttarakhand Joint director Mithilesh Kumar of the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority assured of action going forward.

The next hearing in the case is on April 16, and the Supreme Court has asked Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna to appear before it.

Published By:

Shreyasi Jha

Published On:

Apr 10, 2024

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