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May 7, 2024

Supreme Court Slams State Authority’s Inaction Over Patanjali Misleading Ads

Supreme Court Criticizes Uttarakhand Authority’s Inaction in Patanjali Misleading Ads Case

The Supreme Court has expressed strong criticism towards the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for its failure to act in a case involving misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved Limited. Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah expressed dissatisfaction with the authorities’ explanations, suggesting an attempt to evade responsibility.

The bench voiced disappointment with the affidavits submitted by district officers from Haridwar, including Ayurveda and Unani officers. It also allowed the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority to file additional affidavits.

According to a report by LiveLaw, the Centre defended its decision to issue a letter directing State/UT licensing authorities not to take action against misleading advertisements related to Ayurvedic and Ayush products under Rule 170 of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.

The affidavit filed by the Joint Secretary of the Ayush Ministry stated, “It is respectfully submitted that as the process of final gazette notification will take further time, in order to avoid confusion among the various State/ UT SLAs and to prevent avoidable litigations, Ministry of Ayush vide letter no. T- 13011/1/2022-DCC-Part (2) dated 29.08.2023 directed all State/UTs Licensing Authorities not to take any action under Rule 170 of the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945 as the final notification is under process.”

The court observed that the authority only took action after the Supreme Court’s order on April 10, suggesting deliberate inaction. “This shows that once you want to do something, you do it with lightning speed, but if you don’t, then for years nothing moves. In three days, you have taken all action. What were you doing for the past nine months since taking over? Finally, you realize that you have power and responsibilities. You have finally woken up from sleep,” remarked the bench.

The court directed Patanjali Ayurved’s counsel, including Yog Guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, to submit original newspaper pages containing the public apology issued by the company. Despite the company providing e-copies, the court insisted on original records.

Additionally, the court exempted Ramdev and Balkrishna from personal appearances at the next hearing.

The case was filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) against an alleged smear campaign conducted by Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd and its founders against the Covid-19 vaccination drive and modern medicine.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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