Supreme Court rejects Patanjali Ayurved's Apology, Baba Ramdev faces perjury threat in contempt matter

The Court stated that Baba Ramdev's affidavit was not on file and that the case must be pursued to its inevitable end.

Bhaskar Chakravorty
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In the course of hearing the contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., its Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna, and its co-founder Baba Ramdev for publishing deceptive medical advertisements in violation of an oath given to the Court, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 2, delivered a stern judgment. Balkrishna and Ramdev appeared in person before the Court in accordance with the March 19 directive.

A look back to the happenings

To refresh your memory, the Indian Medical Association filed a suit against Patanjali's advertisements criticizing allopathy and asserting that they could cure certain conditions, which was being heard by the Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

Regarding this, Patanjali Ayurved and its MD were previously served with a contempt notice by the Division Bench on February 27. The notice stated that Patanjali had continued to run deceptive advertisements in spite of the firm's November courtroom assurance that it would stop.

The court accuses Ramdev of lying!

After that, the Court expressed its displeasure that Senior Advocate Balbir Singh, who represented Baba Ramdev, was not included in the record. Judge Kohli stated that there had been enough time. Being a co-founder of the group, Justice Kohli added, it was incomprehensible that he was unaware of the court's ruling. She further emphasized the fact that Ramdev staged a press conference just a day after the court's November 2018 judgment. 

Justice Kohli stated, "This demonstrates that you were aware of the order, and yet, you disregarded it." Notably, the bench also brought up the fact that Patanjali and Ramdev had lied during the hearing.  Making a false statement in court while under oath is known as perjury. 

SC denies Patanjali Ayurved's Apology, issues warning to Baba Ramdev

In a significant development, the Supreme Court of India has declined to accept the apology offered by Patanjali Ayurved Limited in a contempt case. The apex court's decision comes as it warns Baba Ramdev, the founder of Patanjali Ayurved, of potential perjury proceedings in the matter. The ruling marks a crucial juncture in the legal battle between the company and the court, underscoring the importance of accountability and adherence to judicial directives.

Contempt proceedings against Patanjali Ayurved

The contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved stemmed from allegations of non-compliance with a previous court order regarding the transfer of funds. The Supreme Court had issued directives to the company to deposit a specified amount in a trust fund, a mandate that Patanjali Ayurved allegedly failed to fulfill within the stipulated timeframe. Consequently, the court initiated contempt proceedings against the company and its founder, Baba Ramdev, for non-compliance with its orders.

Apology Rejected as the Supreme Court Stands Firm

In response to the contempt charges, Patanjali Ayurved tendered an apology to the Supreme Court, expressing regret for any inadvertent lapses in compliance with the court's directives. However, the court remained unconvinced by the company's apology, asserting that mere expressions of remorse were insufficient to absolve it of accountability for non-compliance with judicial orders. Consequently, the Supreme Court rejected Patanjali Ayurved's apology, signaling its intent to pursue the matter further.

Warning Issued

In a stern warning to Baba Ramdev, the Supreme Court cautioned the founder of Patanjali Ayurved of potential perjury proceedings in the contempt case. Perjury, or the willful giving of false testimony under oath, constitutes a serious offense under the law and can result in severe legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. The court's admonition underscores the gravity of the allegations against Baba Ramdev and highlights the need for full compliance with judicial directives.

Implications and Future Course of Action

The Supreme Court's refusal to accept Patanjali Ayurved's apology and its warning to Baba Ramdev carry significant implications for the company and its leadership. As the legal proceedings in the contempt case continue, Patanjali Ayurved and Baba Ramdev must heed the court's directives and take immediate steps to address any outstanding issues of non-compliance. Failure to do so could result in further legal action and escalation of the matter before the judiciary.