Supreme Court Takes Strong Exception to IMA President's Remarks, Warns of Serious Consequences

Supreme Court warns of serious consequences over IMA President's remarks, citing 'direct interference' with court in Patanjali case.

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, expressed dissatisfaction with comments made by Indian Medical Association (IMA) President Dr. RV Asokan regarding the Patanjali misleading ads case, Indian Medical Association & Anr v. Union of India and Ors.

During the proceedings, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Baba Ramdev, brought attention to an interview given by Dr. Asokan to the media. Rohatgi quoted Dr. Asokan as saying, "Why is the Court pointing fingers at us? These are unfortunate, vague comments by the Supreme Court, that it does not behove the Supreme Court."

Responding to this, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah remarked, "Bring it on record. This will be more serious than what has been happening till now. Be prepared for more serious consequences."

Previously, on April 23, the Court had criticized the IMA for alleged unethical practices in modern medicine and hospitals, such as prescribing expensive medicines. The Court had emphasized the need for the IMA to address these issues, stating, "The petitioner (IMA) needs to put its own house in order regarding alleged unethical acts of the petitioner organization where medicines are prescribed which are expensive and unnecessary."

In response to the Court's remarks, Dr. Asokan reportedly told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that it was "unfortunate" and demoralizing for private doctors. He referred to the Court's comments as "vague and generalized statements."

Rohatgi, referring to the interview published in various media outlets including The Economic Times, emphasized its significance, stating, "It is an Economics Times interview, not some small newspaper. Milord, President of IMA! Not a small functionary. I am filing a contempt application."

The Court allowed Rohatgi to bring the interview on record, with Justice Amanullah clarifying that it would help the Court decide on the future course of action.

During the hearing of the contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved, the Court focused on the interview given by Dr. Asokan, as highlighted by Rohatgi. Rohatgi characterized the interview as 'disturbing' and quoted Dr. Asokan's criticisms of the Court's observations.

Justice Amanullah responded strongly, stating, "This is more serious than what we have been doing till now...Be prepared for more serious consequences."

Justice Hima Kohli, addressing IMA's counsel, remarked, "Self-certification does not help anybody. If what has been said by the other side is correct, you have not covered yourself with glory."

In the order, the bench recorded the submission made by Rohatgi and directed that the interview be filed within two days.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by the IMA, in which it initiated a contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved, its MD Acharya Balkrishna, and Baba Ramdev for publishing misleading medical advertisements in breach of an undertaking given to the Court.