Ramdev's comments last month had triggered a huge row. (File photo)
- Court rejects DMA plea to stop Ramdev from publishing offending material.
- Court questions DMA for not submitting video clips of Ramdev's speeches.
- Court asks Ramdev not to make provocative statements till next hearing.
Yoga guru Ramdev has been sent a notice by the Delhi High Court on Thursday after the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) filed a lawsuit over his statements against allopathic medicines that led to a huge controversy. The court, however, rejected the request by the doctors' body to "restrain Ramdev from directly or indirectly publishing offending material". The doctors' body, which had sought a token damage of Re 1 over the statement and an unconditional apology, was also told by the court to file a petition instead of the lawsuit.
Amid a heated exchange of arguments, the court told the DMA: "You people should be spending time on finding cure for the pandemic instead of wasting (the) court's time."
But the DMA registered a strong objection against the comments. "Ramdev's remarks are affecting members of the DMA. He is calling doctors names. He is saying this science (allopathy) is fake. Ramdev is falsely representing Coronil as a cure for Covid with zero per cent death rate. Even the government has asked him not to advertise it. In the meantime, he has sold Rs 250 crore worth of Coronil." Developed by Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved, Coronil claims to boost immunity.
"Tomorrow, I may feel homeopathy is fake. It's an opinion. How can a suit be filed against it? Even if we assume what he is saying is wrong or misleading, a suit under public interest can't be filed like this. This has to be a public interest litigation (PIL)," the court said in a sharp retort.
"If Patanjali is violating (rules), it's for the government to act. Why are you carrying the torch. This is public interest litigation, masquerading as a suit. You better file a PIL saying that he called it a cure and then changed it to immunity booster, and in the meantime, millions bought it."
The court also questioned the DMA over not submitting the video clips of Ramdev's speeches, and instead, relying on web links.
"Ramdev doesn't have faith in allopathy. He believes everything can be cured by Yoga and Ayurveda. He may be right or wrong but this court can't say Coronil is a cure or not. It has to be done by medical experts. Though his words like 'stupid science' may be temperate but that can't be a cause for a suit," the High Court underlined.
"Let's say 10,000 people bought Coronil and 9,500 died. You go to media and say that Coronil has killed 95 per cent. In that case, Ramdev will file a suit against you? Allopathy has worked for some and not for some. It's a view," the court stressed.
When the DMA sought an interim relief, the High Court said: "It can't be done at interim stage".
"We will issue a notice but can't give a restraint order. I have a doubt whether you can maintain this case," the High Court bench further said, asking Ramdev's legal counsel to tell him not to make any provocative statement till the next date of hearing on July 13 and respond to the suit.
Last month, in a video that was widely shared on social media, Ramdev was heard saying at an event: "Lakhs of people have died because of allopathic medicines, far more than those who died because they did not get treatment or oxygen." He also purportedly called allopathy a "stupid and bankrupt" science.
He withdrew the remarks after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's letter. "The people of the country are very hurt with your remark on allopathic medicines. I have already told about this feeling over phone. Doctors and health workers are like gods for the people of the country for whom they are fighting against the coronavirus risking their lives," the Health Minister had written.
Earlier this week, doctors in several parts of the country protested against the comments.