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Patanjali MD approaches SC against IMA president

In a recent development, Patanjali MD Acharya Balkrishna has moved the Supreme Court with an application seeking action against certain “contemptuous” remarks made by the President of Indian Medical Association in an interview given to the media.

The application is filed in an ongoing contempt case, initiated by IMA against Patanjali, its co-founder Baba Ramdev and MD Acharya Balkrishna, relating to misleading advertisements and negative remarks made regarding modern medicines.

Referring to the interviews of the IMA President Dr RV Ashokan, the Patanjali MD stated, “The statements are scandalous in nature and is a clear attempt to lower dignity of this Hon’ble Court and majesty of law in the eyes of the public. Coming from a party to the litigation, that too the President of Indian Medical Association, it is clear that it is calculated to achieve an ulterior purpose”.

Through the application, Balkrishna has sought to bring on record publications containing the IMA President’s interview, claiming that his allegations/statements are contemptuous in nature and cannot be condoned. “These allegations have been given wide publicity, the same not only criticize this Hon’ble Court, which is not fair criticism, but the idea is to somewhat browbeat the Hon’ble Court is not taking action/asking questions/raising queries about the Petitioner’s Association”, the plea states.

Ultimately, the Patanjali MD prays that the court take “judicial notice of the statements made by the President, Indian Medical Association and initiate appropriate actions in accordance with law”.

The matter is being heard by a Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

It may be recalled that during the hearing on April 30, Patanjali’s counsel Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi had brought the aforementioned interview to the court’s notice. It was alleged that the IMA President criticized the Supreme Court’s observations regarding the need for IMA to take  action on complaints of unethical practices by allopathic doctors as “vague” and “unfortunate”.

To quote the senior counsel, “He says why has the Court turned its fingers at us…The court is making vague and irrelevant statements…The Court is taking a broadside at us…We have done a great job…Out people have died. This is direct interference with the course of proceedings in this case…he says that these are unfortunate comments…demoralizing private doctors. What is this?”

Hearing the submission, J Amanullah responded, “This is more serious than what we have been doing till now .After all that is happening, you [IMA] do this. Be prepared for more serious consequences” .

Justice Kohli, turning to IMA’s counsel, also remarked, “Self-certification does not help anybody. If what has been said by the other side is correct, you have not covered yourself with glory. There is something you will have to say to explain how would you decide which way we should be…”.

In closing, the court permitted Patanjali counsels to bring the interview in question on record. The case is listed tomorrow for consideration of the larger issue of misleading health claims made by Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs)/drugs companies through ads as well as the Union’s decision to omit Rule 170 from the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945. Live Law

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