Supreme Court asks IMA to ensure Patanjali removes misleading advertisements [9.7.2024]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to ensure Patanjali Ayurved withdraws all “misleading” advertisements on social media, electronic media, and other platforms. This directive specifically targets 14 company products whose licences were revoked by the Uttarakhand licensing authority.

The case, heard by a bench led by Justices Hima Kohli and Sandeep Mehta, was initiated by the IMA, accusing Patanjali of disseminating deceptive medical advertisements. The court mandated that no promotions for the 14 medicines should be broadcast or published.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Patanjali, told the court that digital advertisements had been retracted. However, Justice Kohli demanded additional details regarding actions taken beyond internal channels, specifically questioning measures to inform social media platforms and other intermediaries about the licence suspensions.

Advocate PS Patwalia, representing the IMA, clarified that while the licences were initially suspended, they were reinstated on May 17. The court directed the Uttarakhand licensing authority to submit an affidavit within two weeks, outlining the licensing process.

Justice Kohli appointed advocate Shadan Farasat as amicus curiae to investigate the operations of the Drugs and Licensing Authority. This decision followed concerns about the effectiveness of Patanjali's efforts to eliminate the misleading advertisements.

The court was also informed that IMA president Dr RV Asokan had issued an unconditional apology for his previous statements criticising the Supreme Court. Justice Kohli acknowledged the affidavit submitted by Dr Asokan and noted his expression of regret.

Dr Asokan's apology was also published in the IMA's monthly magazine, on their website, and disseminated to news agencies. He clarified that his comments were unintentional and not meant to disrespect the court.

10 Jul 2024