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Patanjali misleading ads: SC reserves order on contempt case against Ramdev, Balkrishna; refuses to accept IMA chief's apology

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order in a contempt of court case against Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna over the company's misleading advertisements.
A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah also dispensed with the personal appearance of Patanjali Ayurved's founders, Ramdev and Balkrishna.
Ramdev and Balkrishna were present before the top court pursuant to its earlier direction.
The bench also granted Patanjali three weeks to file affidavits indicating the steps taken to recall misleading ads for Patanjali products, for which licences have been suspended.
After reserving orders in the contempt case, the bench said, "Public is cognisant, if they have choices they make well informed choices... Baba Ramdev has a lot of influence, use it in the right way."
"What has been done for yoga is good, but Patanjali products is another matter," Justice Kohil replied when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that Ramdev has done a lot of good for yoga.
The top court was hearing a case filed by Indian Medical Association (IMA) against an alleged smear campaign carried out by Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. and its founders against the Covid-19 vaccination drive and modern medicine.
Counsels appearing for Patanjali told the bench that the company has written to all platforms which were still running its ads and that the sale of banned products has stopped.
Meanwhile, the apex court also pulled up the IMA President Dr RV Asokan for giving an interview to the press on Supreme Court's orders in the case. The top court also said that it was not convinced with tje affidavit filed by Asokan tendering unconditional apology.
"You do exactly the same thing Patanjali did. You are not a layman, don't you know the consequences of such things? You can't sit on your couch lamenting the order of the court," the bench told Asokan, who was present in the court.
"We are the first one to uphold the freedom of free speech. But there are times when there should be self restraint. As IMA President, you should have had self restraint. That's the point. We didn't see that in your interviews," said the bench.
It further told Asokan, "Dr. Asokan, you are also a citizen of this country. The amount of criticism judges face, why don't they react? Because personally we don't have much of an ego, we are magnanimous. We are entitled to take action, but very rarely we do. We do that seldom... We use our discretion with some sense of responsibility. But that does not mean you go to town with these kind of comments."
Asokan, in an interview had said that it was unfortunate that the Supreme Court criticised the practice of IMA and private doctors.
Patanjali had filed an application against IMA president asking the bench to take judicial notice of "wanton and unwarranted comments" made by Asokan.
Asokan had given an interview after last month the Apex Court Association (IMA) took a strong objection to the IMA for alleged unethical acts where medicines are prescribed, which are "expensive and unnecessary," and said the association also needs to "put its house in order.".

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