The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked to see copies of the public apology issued by Patanjali Ayurved in newspapers a day earlier in the contempt case against it for misleading advertisements, reported Live Law.

Following the court’s orders on April 16, Patanjali Ayurved had apologised for the “mistake of publishing advertisements and holding a press conference” even after it assured the court that it would cease to promote products with dubious claims.

The court said that the apology must be as conspicuous as the company’s advertisements.

“Cut the actual newspaper clippings and keep them handy,” the bench verbally remarked. “For you to photocopy by enlarging, it may not impress us. We want to see the actual size of the ad. When you issue an apology, it does not mean that we have to see it through a microscope.”

When asked if the apology was published in the same size as the company’s advertisements, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi informed the division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah that publishing the apology in 67 newspapers has cost the company “tens of lakhs”.

The court has been 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.

However, the court observed on Tuesday that the Indian Medical Association, too, needed to “put its house in order” and address allegations of misconduct by the association’s member doctors, according to Live Law. Accordingly, the Indian Medical Association was made a party to the contempt proceedings.

In its previous hearings, the court reprimanded Patanjali Ayurved’s Managing Director Balkrishna and co-founder, yoga guru 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”.

On April 10, the Supreme Court had rejected Patanjali’s second apology and said that Balkrishna and Ramdev only expressed remorse when they were “caught on the wrong foot”.

On April 12, the Supreme Court had 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.

The bench had also castigated the Uttarakhand State Licencing Authority for failing to act against Patanjali and ordered the current and previous officers of the Uttarakhand Licensing Authority to file detailed affidavits explaining why they did not take any action against the company under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.

The next hearing in the matter will take place on April 30.

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