Supreme Court’s Criticize Uttarakhand Government Over Inaction on Misleading Patanjali Advertisements

In a recent court hearing, the Supreme Court expressed strong disapproval of the Uttarakhand government’s failure to address misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved. The Court criticized the State Licensing Authority for its inaction and apparent collusion with errant licensing officers. Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah highlighted the slow response of the authority and its failure to act promptly.

The Court lambasted the officers for merely shuffling paperwork and delaying action, emphasizing the need for accountability. It demanded explanations from officials who had neglected their duties while misleading advertisements continued to spread. The Court was particularly angered by Divya Pharmacy’s dismissive responses to warnings from regulatory authorities.

During the proceedings, the Court scrutinized a letter from the State, pointing out deficiencies in its response to the misleading ads. It condemned the complacency of authorities and criticized their leniency towards Patanjali’s violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. The Court questioned Patanjali’s presumption that they were pioneers in Ayurveda, emphasizing the Act’s provisions against such misleading claims.

Despite admissions of mistakes and assurances of corrective measures, the Court remained skeptical. It expressed concern for consumers who might have been misled into using Patanjali products for ailments beyond their efficacy. The Court observed a lack of sincerity in Patanjali’s apologies, noting their preference for media attention over compliance with legal obligations.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Ramdev and Balkrishna, defended their actions but faced resistance from the Court. The Court questioned the authenticity of their apologies and refused to accept them as genuine expressions of remorse. It viewed their behavior as a deliberate attempt to evade accountability, despite clear instructions from the Court.

The Court emphasized the broader societal implications of Patanjali’s misconduct, stressing the importance of upholding the law and protecting consumers. It highlighted the need for accountability and transparency in advertising practices, especially in the healthcare sector. The Court warned against repeating such violations and stressed the significance of adhering to legal obligations.

The hearing stemmed from a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) against Patanjali’s alleged smear campaign targeting the COVID-19 vaccination drive and modern medicine. Despite earlier warnings and directives from the Court, Patanjali persisted in making false claims in its advertisements, prompting the Court to impose a temporary ban and issue contempt notices.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s rebuke of the Uttarakhand government and Patanjali underscores the importance of responsible advertising and regulatory oversight. The Court’s insistence on accountability and adherence to the law demonstrates its commitment to protecting consumer rights and upholding ethical standards in the healthcare industry.