Contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved: SC refuses to accept Patanjali’s apology and says, “We are not willing to accept this and this is perfunctory”

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While hearing the contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved’s Co-founder (Baba Ramdev) and Managing Director (Acharya Balkrishna) over the publication of misleading medical advertisements, the Supreme Court (SC) of India today (April 02, 2024), came down heavily on them concerning the breach of the undertaking given to the court. Following the direction issued by the SC on March 19, 2024, Baba Ramdev and MD Balakrishnan were personally present before the SC bench constituting Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah

In context with the apology submitted by MD Balkrishna, Justice Kohli said, “If this is indefensible, then your apology will not work. This is a gross violation of the undertaking given to the top court. You have to ensure that your undertaking which is solemn should have been adhered to. We can say that we do not wish to accept that the media department does not know about what is happening in this court and it is an island. This is more of a lip service!... You violated the solemn undertaking with impunity. We are not willing to accept this and this is perfunctory! What is the reason to accept your apology?” Following this, Justice Amanullah added, “This is all humbug! You say ‘if the court feels, etc.’ … We cannot look into your heart! This is not how contempt cases are dealt with. In some matters, some cases have to be taken to their logical end. There cannot be so much magnanimity!”

During the proceedings, the bench noted that Baba Ramdev’s reply was not in the record. Senior Advocate Balbir Singh appearing for Baba Ramdev submitted that the parties are ready to apologize in person as they are physically present before the court. It said that there had been perjury on the part of Patanjali and Ramdev. Justice Amanullah remarked, “Now, we will take note of the Perjury. Mr. Balbir Singh be prepared for all consequences…separate perjury cases will start against both of you…We do not hide behind the back, we are opening our cards. Perjury at this level, at this proceeding!” In this context, Justice Kohli said, “You said documents have been attached, but the documents were created later on. This is a clear case of perjury! We are not closing the doors on you but we are telling all that we have noted.” However, the bench was not satisfied with SA Balbir’s statement and gave last opportunity (to Baba Ramdev) to file a reply within one week. The matter was further listed for April 10 whereas while listing the case for the next hearing, the SC clarified that both the parties should be physically present at that time.