The Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily restrained yoga guru Ramdev’s company, Patanjali Ayurved, from advertising any of its products meant to address specific diseases and disorders listed in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, LiveLaw reported.

The court also cautioned Patanjali Ayurved against making statements critical of any system of medicine. The matter will be heard again after two weeks.

The company and its managing director Balkrishna have been issued notices for contempt of court for continuing to publish misleading advertisements regarding Patanjali’s purported medicinal cures despite making assurances in November that they would stop advertising such products.

The bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah were hearing a petition by the Indian Medical Association alleging that Patanjali carried out a “smear campaign” against modern medicine and the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

“Today, I am going to pass really strict order,” Justice Amanullah said during the hearing on Tuesday. “You had the courage and guts to come up with [these advertisements] after the order of this court…You are tempting the court.”

“Respondents are restrained from advertising…their marketed medicinal products specified as treating diseases/ailments as in the rules, until further orders,” the court said.

Several state units of the Indian Medical Association had initially complained against Ramdev and Patanjali after a half-page Patanjali advertisement appeared in several newspapers on July 10, 2022, saying: “Misconceptions spread by allopathy. Save yourself and the country from the misconceptions spread by the pharma and medical industry.”

In November, the court had said that “all false and misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurveda have to stop immediately”.

The court had observed that the matter could not be reduced to a debate between modern medicine and ayurveda. It said that it is examining the matter seriously and wants to find “a real solution” to the problem of misleading medical advertisements. The bench asked the Centre to hold consultations and come up with recommendations and solutions for the same.

On Tuesday, the top court asked the Centre to explain what action it has taken under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, in the context of Patanjali’s misleading advertisements.

The Indian Medical Association had sought the court’s directions to the Centre, the Advertising Standards Council of India and the Central Consumer Protection Authority of India to curb campaigns and advertisements against allopathy.

In May 2021, in a video widely shared on social media, Ramdev was heard saying at an event: “Lakhs of people have died because of allopathic medicines, far more than those who died because they did not get treatment or oxygen.” He issued an apology after former Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked him to withdraw his comments.

In another video from May 2021, Ramdev claimed that 1,000 doctors had died despite receiving two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.