The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was concerned about fast-moving consumer goods companies deceiving customers and causing health risks, Live Law reported.

The court made the observation while hearing contempt proceedings against Patanjali Ayurved for its misleading advertisements.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said it was not concerned about Patanjali alone, but about “all those FMCGs and all those companies who are taking their consumers and clients up the garden path and showing them some very rosy pictures of what their product can do for them”.

The bench said that people’s health suffers because of such products, even though they pay large sums of money for them. “This is absolutely unacceptable,” the court said.

Senior Advocate Balbir Singh, representing yoga guru and Patanjali co-founder Ramdev, said that the opportunity could be taken to create guidelines for the industry in general.

The Indian Medical Association, which filed the petition against Patanjali, accusing the company of carrying out a “smear campaign” against modern medicine and the Covid-19 vaccination drive. On November 21, Patanjali gave an undertaking to the court saying it would not make any “casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine”.

However, on December 4, the company again issued an allegedly misleading advertisement, after which the court rebuked Ramdev and the firm’s Managing Director Balkrishna.

On March 20, Balkrishna tendered an “unqualified apology” and said that he had the highest regard for the rule of law, adding that Patanjali Ayurved would ensure it did not issue any such advertisements in the future. The court, however, refused to accept the apology and described it as mere lip service.

On Wednesday as well, the Supreme Court rejected Patanjali’s second apology, and said Balkrishna and Ramdev only expressed remorse when they were “caught on the wrong foot”.

The court remarked that Ramdev and Balkrishna tried to evade appearing personally before the court by making false claims about foreign travel. It noted that though an application seeking exemption from personal appearance was filed on March 30, the flight tickets cited were dated March 31.