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'Making Profit Not A Wrongful Act': Delhi High Court On Doctors' Suit Against Baba Ramdev Over Remarks On Allopathy & Promotion Of Coronil

Nupur Thapliyal
25 Oct 2021 12:00 PM GMT
Making Profit Not A Wrongful Act: Delhi High Court On Doctors Suit Against Baba Ramdev Over Remarks On Allopathy & Promotion Of Coronil
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Hearing a plea against Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev for allegedly spreading misinformation against allopathy and in turn promoting his immunity booster medicine Coronil amid Covid-19 pandemic, the Delhi High Court on Monday remarked that making profit is neither a public nuisance nor a wrongful act.The oral remarks came from Justice C Hari Shankar after Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal appearing for...

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Hearing a plea against Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev for allegedly spreading misinformation against allopathy and in turn promoting his immunity booster medicine Coronil amid Covid-19 pandemic, the Delhi High Court on Monday remarked that making profit is neither a public nuisance nor a wrongful act.

The oral remarks came from Justice C Hari Shankar after Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal appearing for the plaintiff submitted before the Court that Baba Ramdev, with the objective of making commercial gain, mislead the public into believing that Divya Coronil tablets are a cure to the Covid-19 infection.

"Let's not go into commercial gain. Everyone works for profit. You have to make a case of public nuisance or wrongful act. Commercial gain or making profit is neither a public nuisance nor a wrongful act," the judge said.

To this, Sibal responded thus:

"The idea is nobody says don't indulge in commerce. This is not merely a case of somebody exercising a bona fide opinion about something. This is somebody who is marketing a drug for commercial use having a two fold objective. He says allopathy is killing you and here I have a cure for you. He says I have cured 90 percent of people, allopathy might have cured 10 percent so you come to me."

Sibal also submitted that despite the Government of India saying that Ramdev cannot make statements to the public that he has license of Coronil as a treatment for Covid-19, he continued to give an assurance that the tablets do provide a cure.

Placing reliance on a document dated June 12, 2020 given to Divya pharmacy for three items including coronil tablets, Sibal submitted thus:

"Nowhere in this there is any indication that this is a medicine for corona or cure of corona. Its only a manufacturing license as drug which is required by law."

Sibal also submitted that the Government officially said that Baba Ramdev only has license as an immuno booster and not as an absolute cure of Covid-19.

On this, Justice Shankar said:

"You tell me what has he done and what exactly oral statements or documents has he… You have set out the statements. I have got the hand of what according to you are the infractions. You're saying he has violated the protocol, notifications etc. but by what?"

The Court was of the prima facie view that the suit could not be thrown out at the threshold without granting leave to institute suit under Section 91 of CPC.

Accordingly, the matter was directed to be re-notified on October 27 for hearing the stand of Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar appearing for defendant no 1, i.e., Baba Ramdev.

"The matter will be taken up at first call and would not be passed over given the number of working days left this year," the Court said.

The plea had alleged that Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev was causing misrepresentation to the public at large by spreading misinformation saying that allopathy was responsible for Covid-19 deaths and prompting people to not get hospitalised.

On the previous hearing, the Bench had however observed,

"He may have said that you take my medicine and your oxygen level will rise but he claims did not deter hospitalisation. The extent to which may be they are agreeing with you is that he promoted coronil as a cure for corona. But that he says is something he is entitled to do for a medicine which is ayurvedic in nature. Now I have not gone into statutory violations that he may have done."

The Judge had further said,

"He may have made some statements against allopathy but that's an opinion. If you go to any allopathy doctor, they may have adverse views about homeopathy. That does not mean homeopathy practitioners will rise up in arms against allopathy."

The plea was moved by the following associations: Three Resident Doctors Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rishikesh, Patna and Bhubaneswar; Association of Resident Doctors, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Chandigarh; Resident Doctors Association Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut; Telangana Junior Doctors Association, Hyderabad; Union of Resident Doctors of Punjab.

According to the plea, Baba Ramdev was creating doubts in the minds of people with respect to efficacy of not only allopathic treatment but also other Covid-19 vaccines.

Furthermore, it has been averred that being an influential person, Ramdev's statements can influence the public at large and thereby divert them from opting allopathy treatment which is prescribed as a standard form of care even by the Government.

Case Title: Resident Doctors Association, AIIMS (Rishikesh) & Ors. v. Ram Kishan Yadav alias Swami Ramdev & Ors.

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