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SC expresses reservation about accepting affidavits filed by Ramdev, Balkrishna
4/10/2024 10:45:53 PM
NEW DELHI, Apr 10: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept the affidavits filed by yoga guru Ramdev and managing director of Patanjali Ayurved Balkrishna tendering unconditional apologies over publishing "misleading" advertisements, asserting they did so when "caught on the wrong foot".
The court also came down hard on the State Licensing Authority for its inaction on the issue and said it is not going to take it lightly. "We will rip you apart," a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said in an unusually stern reprimand
The apex court observed that after notices to show cause were issued to them and they were directed to present themselves before it, Ramdev and Balkrishna "attempted to wriggle out" of the situation where personal presence was warranted. It is "most unacceptable", the court said.
"Having regard to the entire history of the matter and the past conduct of the contemnors…, we have expressed our reservations about accepting the latest affidavit filed by them," the bench said while dictating the order in the courtroom.
The court fixed the matter for resumed hearing on April 16.
Reproaching the Authority, the top court said, "We are appalled to note that except for pushing the files, the State Licensing Authority did nothing and was in "deep slumber" over the issue for four-five years. It asked the state's officer present on behalf of the Authority to explain the reasons for inaction.
While declining to accept the apologies tendered by Ramdev and Balkrishna, the bench said, "We don't want to be so generous in this case." "The apologies that are on record are on paper. We think that having been caught on the wrong foot and noticing that their back is actually against the wall and having gone to town saying all kinds of things on the very next day of the order passed where your counsel had given undertaking, we don't accept this affidavit," it said. "We decline to accept or condone it. We consider it a wilful and deliberate violation of the order and the breach of the undertaking…," the bench told senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Ramdev and Balkrishna.
Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an "unconditional and unqualified apology" before the apex court over advertisements issued by the firm making tall claims about the medicinal efficacy of its products.
In two separate affidavits filed in the court, they tendered unqualified apologies for the "breach of the statement" recorded in the November 21 last year order of the apex court.
In the November 21, 2023 order, the top court had noted that counsel representing Patanjali Ayurved had assured it that "henceforth there shall not be any violation of any law(s), especially relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it and, further, that no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any form".
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