Indian Supreme Court Orders Patanjali to Issue Apology Matching Size of Misleading Ads

The Indian Supreme Court orders Patanjali and its leaders to issue a prominent newspaper apology for misleading medical ads, expanding scrutiny to other FMCG companies and the medical industry's practices.

Rafia Tasleem
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Indian Supreme Court Orders Patanjali to Issue Apology Matching Size of Misleading Ads

Indian Supreme Court Orders Patanjali to Issue Apology Matching Size of Misleading Ads

The Indian Supreme Court has ordered Patanjali Ayurved, its managing director Acharya Balkrishna, and co-founder Baba Ramdev to issue a newspaper apology matching the size of their previous misleading medical advertisements. The court is currently hearing a case against Patanjali for publishing these ads in violation of an undertaking given to the Supreme Court in November 2021.

On April 22, Patanjali published apology advertisements in some newspapers, but the court inquired whether the size of the apology was the same as their earlier full-page ads, which cost tens of lakhs of rupees. The court directed Patanjali to submit the actual newspaper clippings of the apology ads, stating that the apology should not be seen only through a microscope. Baba Ramdev assured the court that they will file a bigger apology in the newspapers within a week.

Why this matters: The article highlights the importance of truthful advertising and the consequences for companies that engage in misleading marketing practices. It also underscores the Supreme Court's role in protecting consumer welfare and holding businesses accountable.

During the hearing, the court also expanded the scope of the case to include misleading advertisements by other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. It impleaded the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to understand what actions the government has taken to prevent such abuse. Additionally, the court sought an explanation from the AYUSH Ministry regarding a letter asking states to refrain from taking action against the advertisement of AYUSH products.

The court took a strong exception to alleged unethical acts by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), such as prescribing expensive and unnecessary medicines. "The IMA also needs to put its house in order," the court stated, directing the IMA to provide information on actions taken against its members for such practices.

The Supreme Court has rejected Patanjali's repeated apologies in the past and has asked the company and its leaders to respect the rule of law. The case is scheduled for further hearing on April 30, with Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna required to appear before the court again. The court's directive for Patanjali to issue a prominent apology and its scrutiny of misleading advertising practices by other companies underscore its commitment to upholding consumer rights and ensuring ethical standards in the healthcare and FMCG sectors.

Key Takeaways

  • SC orders Patanjali to issue newspaper apology matching size of misleading ads.
  • Court expands case to scrutinize misleading ads by other FMCG companies.
  • SC seeks explanation from AYUSH Ministry on letter asking states to not act against AYUSH ads.
  • Court directs IMA to provide info on actions taken against members for unethical practices.
  • SC rejects Patanjali's past apologies, seeks prominent apology from Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna.