The Supreme Court on Tuesday criticised yoga guru Baba Ramdev for his disparaging remarks on modern medicine systems like allopathy.
A bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana said he can run campaigns to popularise Ayurveda, but should not criticise other systems.
“Why is Baba Ramdev accusing Allopathy Doctors? He popularised yoga. Good. But he should not criticize other systems. What is the guarantee that what he follows will cure everything?” asked Chief Justice N V Ramana and the bench, which also included justices CT Ravi Kumar and Hima Kohli..
The Supreme Court made these observations while hearing a petition by Indian Medical Association (IMA), alleging smear campaigns against allopathic medicines, their doctors and Covid-19 vaccination.
Ramdev must restrain himself from “abusing” allopathy and other systems of medicine, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, pulling up the yoga guru for deriding doctors and allopathy while speaking in favour of Patanjali products.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana issued notices to the Union government and Patanjali Ayurved in response to a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The bench objected to the content of several advertisements Patanjali had released that mocked allopathy and blamed it for illnesses and deaths.
Ramdev was seen saying in a video last year, during the second Covid wave that ravaged the nation and killed thousands of people, “Lakhs of people have perished because of allopathic drugs, considerably more than those who died because they did not get treatment or oxygen.” Even more allegedly, the yoga instructor referred to allopathy as a “stupid and bankrupt” science.
In his testimony on behalf of IMA, attorney Prabhas Bajaj presented advertisements that Patanjali allegedly claimed were printed during the second Covid-19 wave and purportedly accused allopathy for causing fatalities and incurable ailments.
The IMA complained about statements made by Ramdev and Patanjali’s advertisements in newspapers and on TV channels, deriding allopathy and making several contentious accusations against those practising other systems of medicine.
How can he [Ramdev] accuse all doctors as though they are murderers, the CJI questioned. In every newspaper, there are sizable adverts. He cannot mistreat medical professionals or other medical systems. It’s preferable that he be forced to refrain from abusing other systems.
“Many of these advertisements attribute lakhs of deaths to allopathy and such ads were published during the peak of the second Covid-19 wave. They even claim to have a cure for diabetes and blood pressure in the teeth of Union health ministry’s own guidelines,” Bajaj said.
He noted that IMA complained to the Ayush ministry, and that ministry concurred that these advertisements were deceptive. Despite acknowledging that the advertisements are misleading the public, nothing has been done, according to Bajaj, and his smear campaign continues.
Last week, the Delhi high court chided Ramdev for “misleading the public” with his claims over Covid-19 vaccines, asking him to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims regarding Patanjali product Coronil.
“You are welcome to have your supporters, disciples, and believers, but don’t deceive the public by claiming things that aren’t true… Ayurveda’s reputation and good repute must be preserved. I also want to make sure that no one is misinformed about allopathy”, the high court stated on August 04.
In a case brought by doctors’ organisations, charging Ramdev of deceiving the public by casting doubt on the effectiveness of therapies like Covid vaccines, the court made the observation.
Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhan expressed his concerns about “people being named” in such statements and said, “Such statements can affect the country’s relation with other nations, besides also bringing Ayurveda to bad repute.”
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