Supreme Court Warns Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna: “No Excuse of National Service Above Law”

The Supreme Court of India, on April 2, 2024, issued a stern warning to yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved’s MD Acharya Balkrishna during a hearing related to misleading advertisements by Patanjali. The top court admonished the duo for taking the court proceedings lightly and overstepping legal boundaries, asserting that the glory of the law reigns supreme regardless of one’s stature.

During the session presided over by Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, the Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction with the responses provided by Patanjali and indicated its annoyance with the company’s conduct. Despite Baba Ramdev’s lawyer pleading for mercy with folded hands, Justice Hima Kohli remarked on the central government’s inaction despite evident violations.

Courtroom Proceedings:

The court queried the presence of Ramdev and Patanjali in the courtroom and indicated it would summon them as necessary. The bench sought Ramdev’s affidavit, noting that only one affidavit had been filed on behalf of Patanjali and Balkrishna when two were expected. The court voiced its discontent, stating that the apologies offered were insufficient, especially considering Patanjali continued its advertisements amidst ongoing Supreme Court proceedings.

Supreme Court’s Stern Message:

Justice Kohli highlighted the disrespect shown towards the Supreme Court’s orders, indicating that mere apologies after repeated violations were unacceptable. The court emphasized the supremacy of law, questioning Ramdev’s perceived elevation above legal obligations. The court also pointed out the lack of receipt of the affidavit intended to express remorse or regret.

In a significant admonition, the Supreme Court warned Ramdev and Balkrishna of potential legal repercussions for submitting incorrect affidavits, indicating a possible case of perjury. The lawyer for Ramdev was criticized for not presenting accurate facts in the affidavit, with the court indicating that besides contempt, a case for submitting false affidavits would also be pursued.

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This warning from the Supreme Court underscores the judiciary’s commitment to uphold the law’s dignity and serves as a reminder that no individual, regardless of their status or contributions, is above the legal framework. The case, which has been under review since November 2023, continues to unravel, with the next hearing scheduled for April 10, where both Balkrishna and Ramdev are mandated to appear.

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