Pathanjali submits affidavit in Supreme Court, says misleading ads won't appear in future

This came as SC issued summons to Baba Ramdev and Pathanjali MD Acharya Balkrishna

Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd Acharya Balkrishna and Baba Ramdev | File Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd Acharya Balkrishna and Baba Ramdev | File

Patanjali Ayurved managing director Acharya Balkrishna on Thursday submitted an unqualified apology before the Supreme Court over the alleged misleading advertisements. This came two days after the court directed yoga guru Ramdev and company managing director Acharya Balkrishna to appear before it. 

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, Balkrishna stated that his company will not repeat such ads which were only meant to promote Ayurveda. "The Deponent will ensure that such advertisements are not issued in the future. By way of clarification, not as a defence, the Deponent begs to submit that its intention is only to exhort the citizens of this country to lead a healthier life by consuming products of Respondent No. 5 including products for lifestyle ailments through the use age old literature and materials supplementing and backed by ayurvedic research," the affidavit said.

The company, in its affidavit, said that it has the highest regard for the rule of law and is duty-bound to follow the same. It added that its media wing was not aware of court proceedings barring such ads. "The Deponent regrets that the advertisement in question which was meant to contain only general statements inadvertently included the offending sentences. The same was bonafide and added in the routine course by the media department," the affidavit said.

The affidavit stressed Pathanjali's claim that it had scientific data with clinical research conducted in Ayurveda, which was not available at the time of enactment of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 and its Ayurvedic products are backed by scientific research. It added that the deponent's only quest was for a "better and healthier life for each and every citizen and to reduce the burden on the country's healthcare infrastructure by providing holistic, evidence-based solutions for lifestyle-related medical complications" through Ayurveda.

This came as the top court on Tuesday took exception to the company's failure to respond to the notice issued in the contempt proceedings relating to advertisements of the firm's products and their medicinal efficacy.

In 2023, the SC had warned it would impose costs of ₹1 crore per false claim made in each advertisement for Patanjali Ayurved products that claim to cure diseases. The court had then warned Pathanjali not to publish false advertisements in the future, and to avoid making such claims to the media.

Despite the court warning, such advertisements continued to appear. This year, the court again imposed a temporary ban on such advertisements and issued contempt of court notices to the company and Balkrishna for making misleading claims. 

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