The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave one week’s time to Patanjali Ayurved’s Managing Director Balkrishna and co-founder, yoga guru Ramdev, to issue a public apology in the contempt proceedings initiated against the company for its misleading advertisements, reported Live Law.

Ramdev and Balkrishna also apologised to the division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah. The court was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association against Patanjali Ayurved Limited accusing the company of carrying out a “smear campaign” against modern medicine and the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

“What we did at that point of time, it should not have been done,” Ramdev said, addressing the company’s decision to continue publishing misleading advertisements. “We will remember this in future. We released the advertisements on an impulse.”

In its previous hearings, the court reprimanded Balkrishna and Ramdev for an advertisement issued by their company on December 4 after it had said in an undertaking on November 21 that it would not make any “casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine”.

“You are doing good work but you can’t degrade allopathy,” the court said on Monday, reported The Indian Express. “Why are you asking for other methods to be stopped in favour of your methods?”

To this, Ramdev said that Patanjali wanted to bring out Ayurvedic products that are backed by research-based evidence.

The court posted the matter for April 23 and asked both Ramdev and Balkrishna to be present for the hearing.

Previous hearings

On April 12, the Supreme Court said that it was concerned about companies deceiving customers and creating risks to their health. The bench said that public health suffers because of such products despite the large sums of money they cost. “This is absolutely unacceptable,” the court said.

On April 10, the Supreme Court rejected Patanjali’s second apology and said that 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 before it personally by making false claims about foreign travel. It noted that though an application seeking exemption from personal appearance was filed on March 30, their flight tickets were dated March 31.

The bench also castigated the Uttarakhand State Licencing Authority for failing to act against Patanjali and its subsidiary Divya Pharmacy.

The court ordered the current and previous officers of the Uttarakhand Licensing Authority to file detailed affidavits explaining why they did not take any action against Patanjali under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, reported The Hindu.

During a hearing on April 2, the bench also questioned why the Ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) had chosen “to keep its eyes shut when Patanjali was going to town saying there [was] no remedy for Covid in allopathy”.

Also read: A brief history of Patanjali’s dangerous claims