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Saturday May 18, 2024

Indian yoga guru seeks mercy from judges in misleading ads case

The Supreme Court has previously refused to accept two formal apologies from Ramdev and his firm’s co-founder Acharya Balkrishna

By Reuters
April 17, 2024
Indian guru and businessman Ramdev can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Indian guru and businessman Ramdev can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

NEW DELHI: Popular Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev said on Tuesday he made a mistake and apologised to a court for defying its orders to stop misleading advertisements that claim his traditional ayurvedic medicines can cure chronic diseases like diabetes.

Ramdev, dressed in a saffron-coloured robe, pleaded before two Supreme Court judges with folded hands and said he felt provoked to react after his firm Patanjali Ayurved’s hugely popular medicines were called “pseudo-science” by critics, but added he was not justifying his action.

The Supreme Court has previously refused to accept two formal apologies from Ramdev and his firm’s co-founder Acharya Balkrishna, made through their lawyers, in the contempt case and also admonished the head of a state drugs regulator for not taking legal action against the firm.

“I want to say we made a mistake,” Ramdev told the judges in the packed courtroom. “What we said at the time should not have been said.”

He added that millions of people follow him and he would be “mindful of these things going forward”.

The case against him relates to the Indian Medical Association’s allegations that Patanjali disparages conventional medicines and continued publishing the misleading ads.

Ramdev has a huge following in India and performs yoga on TV shows. He repeated claims about his traditional medicines at a press briefing last year, a day after the court barred Patanjali from publishing such ads.

“You are doing good work in your field ... don’t disparage allopathy,” Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah told Ramdev, referring to conventional treatments.