‘Wilful violation’: SC rejects Patanjali’s apology, points to Uttarakhand authorities being ‘in cahoots’

The court sought an explanation from the Uttarakhand state licensing authorities for their inaction over misleading ads.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishnan.

The Supreme Court has rejected the second affidavit – of “unconditional and unqualified apology” – filed by Baba Ramdev-owned Patanjali Ayurved and its managing director Acharya Balkrishna in the contempt case linked to “misleading” advertisements, Livelaw reported.

The court also pulled up the Uttarakhand state licensing authorities, including its joint director, for being “complicit”. It asked the licensing officers – holding the post between 2018 and now – to file an affidavit within two weeks, explaining their “inaction”. 

This comes days after the Supreme Court slammed Patanjali’s “lip service” of apology, and questioned the central government’s role in granting “impunity” to the retail company. Notably, the Centre had said the matter is not its “domain”. 

Rejecting the affidavit, the top court bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said, “Apology is on paper. Their back is against the wall. We decline to accept this, we consider it a wilful, deliberate violation of undertaking. Be ready for something next to rejection of an affidavit. Why should we not treat your apology with the same disdain as shown to the court undertaking? We are not convinced. Now, going to turn down this apology.”

The court also pointed out that despite show-cause notices, Baba Ramdev and Acharya had  to “wriggle out of their personal presence” by moving applications seeking exemption on the ground that they were travelling abroad. 

It observed that although the applications were filed on March 30, the flight tickets produced were “strangely enough” dated March 31. “Fact remains that when the date when the affidavits were sworn (March 30), there was no such ticket in existence.” 

Uttarakhand authorities ‘keeping eyes shut’

The bench said the drug officers and licensing authority “have done nothing”, and asked “why should all officers of licensing authority not be placed under suspension?”

Suggesting that the officers may be hand in glove with Patanjali, Justice Kohli asked, “Why should we not think you are in cahoots with alleged contemnors? You are keeping your eyes shut deliberately. They thump under your nose, you accept this?” 

In its reply to the court earlier, the state licensing counsel had emphasised on the “suggestive nature” of the ads and asserted their “misguided assumptions”. However, the court rejected the reasoning.  

The authorities had also reportedly informed the central government about the matter earlier, and asked it to issue a warning. But it had not taken any action against Patanjali. 

The matter will be heard next on April 16.

Newslaundry had earlier reported that Ramdev deceptively sold Coronil as cure for Covid during the pandemic. Read here. The self-styled yoga guru, who has established a gigantic retail empire, has been riding on the shoulders of Big Media. Read about it here.  

Also see
article imageWhy is the media not questioning Baba Ramdev's miracle coronavirus cure?
article imageLaws ‘archaic’ but ‘regret’ the ads: Patanjali, MD Balakrishnan apologise to SC for misleading ads
article image‘Aren't babas supposed to be peaceful?': Haryana journalist who questioned Ramdev

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