Ramdev must refrain from “abusing” allopathy and other medical systems, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, criticising the yoga master for disparaging physicians and allopathy while praising Patanjali goods.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana issued notices to the Union government and Patanjali Ayurved in response to a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The bench objected to the content of several advertisements Patanjali had released that mocked allopathy and blamed it for illnesses and deaths.
“Why should he mistreat medical professionals and other medical systems? Because he has advocated yoga, he has our respect. He is unable to critique other systems, though. What is the assurance that the treatment he is promoting will heal everyone of their illnesses? Justices Hima Kohli and CT Ravi Kumar were also on the bench.
In his testimony on behalf of IMA, attorney Prabhas Bajaj presented advertisements that Patanjali allegedly claimed were printed during the second Covid-19 wave and purportedly blamed allopathy for causing deaths and incurable diseases.
How can he [Ramdev] accuse all doctors as though they are murderers, the CJI questioned. In every newspaper, there are sizable advertisements. He cannot mistreat medical professionals or other medical systems. It’s preferable that he be forced to refrain from abusing other systems.
The IMA expressed concern about statements made in Ramdev and Patanjali’s newspaper and television advertisements that disparaged allopathy and levelled several divisive accusations against those who practised alternative medical systems.
These ads were published at the height of the second Covid-19 wave and many of them blame lakhs of deaths on allopathy. In defiance of the Union Health Ministry’s own recommendations, they even assert that they can cure diabetes and high blood pressure, Bajaj said.
He noted that IMA complained to the Ayush ministry, and that ministry concurred that these advertisements were deceptive. Despite acknowledging that the advertisements are misleading the public, nothing has been done, according to Bajaj, and his smear campaign continues.
The bench asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who was present in court for another matter, to accept notice on the Center’s behalf after hearing from IMA.
Ramdev was reprimanded by the Delhi High Court last week for “misleading the public” with his claims regarding the Covid-19 vaccines and was urged to stop making unfounded claims about the Coronil product from Patanjali.
“You are welcome to have your supporters, disciples, and believers, but don’t deceive the public by saying things that aren’t true… Ayurveda’s reputation and good name must be preserved. I also want to make sure that no one is misinformed about allopathy, the high court stated on August 17.
In a case brought by doctors’ associations, accusing Ramdev of misleading the public by casting doubt on the effectiveness of interventions like Covid vaccinations, the court made the observation.