Public apology issued for remarks against top court: IMA chief tells SC

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Sandeep Mehta, was also told that Dr Asokan has published the apology on the IMA's website and in its monthly journal.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaFile Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: India's top court on Tuesday was informed that a public apology has been issued by Indian Medical Association (IMA) President Dr RV Asokan for his alleged remarks directed at the top court amid the ongoing case filed by the medical body against Patanjali Ayurved.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Sandeep Mehta, was also told that Dr Asokan has published the apology on the IMA's website and in its monthly journal.

The top court was hearing a case filed by the IMA against Patanjali Ayurved and its founders Acharya Balkrishna and Baba Ramdev, alleging a smear campaign by Patanjali against the COVID-19 vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine.

The IMA alleged that Patanjali Ayurveda's advertisements, which claimed to cure diseases including blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma, were improper and spread misinformation. "It is completely wrong to advertise cures for such diseases," the IMA stated.

In an earlier order on February 27, 2024, the Supreme Court had restrained Patanjali from advertising or branding certain products intended to address ailments listed under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, and its rules.

Addressing the February 27 decision, the Supreme Court emphasised that its order for self-declaration by the advertisement industry should not be adversely affected. The court also requested the Centre to convene a meeting with stakeholders and senior officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to resolve issues and difficulties faced by advertisers.

During the hearing, the court reviewed the affidavit filed by Dr Asokan on July 6. Considering that the respondents had not yet reviewed Dr Asokan's affidavit, the court scheduled the next hearing for August 6. It also exempted Dr Asokan, who was present in court, from appearing personally at the next hearing.

In a hearing in May, the Supreme Court criticised the Uttarakhand State Licencing Authority (SLA) for failing to take timely and effective action against Patanjali Ayurved, following the IMA's challenge to the misleading advertisements.

The Supreme Court's earlier order imposed a temporary ban on Patanjali's medicine advertisements in print and TV.

Citing the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, the court restrained Patanjali Ayurved from advertising its products related to diseases and disorders.

Supreme Court of India
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