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Why is Patanjali in trouble : A Deep Dive into the Patanjali Controversy

Why is Patanjali in trouble : A Deep Dive into the Patanjali Controversy Banner - The Best IAS Coaching in Delhi | SHRI RAM IAS Study Centre

The recent developments surrounding Patanjali Ayurved have stirred quite a buzz, especially among UPSC aspirants who are keen observers of current affairs. The Supreme Court's issuance of a contempt of court notice to Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director of Patanjali, has brought the spotlight onto the company's alleged flouting of an undertaking given to the court on November 21, 2023.

The matter at hand revolves around misleading advertisements, particularly in the domain of products catering to vulnerable demographics such as babies, children, and the elderly. The Supreme Court, while directing Patanjali Ayurved to present its published apology in newspapers, also expressed its concern over similar practices by other fast-moving consumer goods companies. This broader scrutiny hints at a systemic issue that goes beyond one firm, emphasizing the need for accountability and transparency in advertising practices, especially when it comes to products related to health and well-being.

The court's directives to both Patanjali and regulatory authorities underscore the importance of upholding ethical standards in advertising, particularly in industries that directly impact public health. As UPSC aspirants, understanding such legal and ethical dimensions of corporate conduct is crucial, as it reflects broader societal values and governance principles.

The Supreme Court exercised its powers primarily in the realm of contempt of court and overseeing compliance with its orders. Here are the key powers and actions taken by the Supreme Court in the Patanjali case:

1. Contempt of Court Notice: The Supreme Court issued a contempt of court notice to Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director of Patanjali, for allegedly flouting an undertaking given to the court on November 21, 2023. This notice is a legal action taken by the court to address behavior that is deemed disrespectful or disobedient to its authority or orders.

2. Scrutiny of Apology and Advertisements: The court directed Patanjali Ayurved to place on record its apology published in newspapers over misleading advertisements. It also expressed interest in examining the size and content of both the apology and the misleading advertisements, highlighting its role in overseeing compliance and transparency in advertising practices.

3. Broad Inquiry into Advertising Practices: The Supreme Court indicated that it was not only focusing on Patanjali but also looking at other companies over misleading advertisements, especially concerning products like "foods for babies, children, and elderly." This broader inquiry reflects the court's authority to address systemic issues and uphold ethical standards across industries impacting public health and consumer rights.

4. Involvement of Regulatory Authorities: The court directed the Centre and state licensing authorities to activate themselves and take action against misleading advertisements. It sought information on complaints received against other fast-moving consumer goods companies and the actions taken by regulatory authorities in response.

5. Inquiry into Ayush Ministry's Actions: The court questioned the Ayush Ministry's decision regarding rule 170 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, which prohibits advertisements of Ayurvedic, Siddha, or Unani drugs without approval. It sought clarification on the Ministry's directive and its implications on regulatory oversight.

6. Involvement of Other Ministries: The Supreme Court made the Ministries of Consumer Affairs and Information and Broadcasting parties to the matter, indicating its interest in the applicability of relevant laws, such as the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, on media and advertising practices.

Overall, the Supreme Court's actions demonstrate its powers in enforcing compliance with its orders, addressing contempt of court, scrutinizing advertising practices, and involving relevant authorities to ensure transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct in commercial activities impacting public interest.

For UPSC aspirants, navigating through the complexities of current affairs and legal frameworks is an essential part of exam preparation. As you delve into topics like the Patanjali controversy, it's crucial to have access to comprehensive study materials and expert guidance to ace your exams with confidence.

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