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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Cannot throw out case against Ramdev at threshold, Delhi HC asks his counsel to address arguments

The court was hearing an application moved by certain doctors’ associations seeking permission to institute a suit against him.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: October 26, 2021 9:49:06 am
The plea alleged that the misinformation campaign was nothing but an advertisement and marketing strategy to further the sales of the product sold by Ramdev. (File)

The Delhi High Court Monday said that prima facie, the case against Yoga guru Ramdev for his statements against allopathy amid the Covid pandemic cannot be thrown out at the threshold, and asked his counsel to address arguments in this regard on Wednesday.

The court was hearing an application moved by certain doctors’ associations seeking permission to institute a suit against him. A suit under Section 91 of the Code of Civil Procedure alleging public nuisance or other wrongful act affecting or likely to affect the public can be instituted only by an Advocate General or with leave from a court.

“I don’t think prima facie this is a case which can be thrown out without granting leave. You file your response to the suit… The allegations may be right or wrong but it is something to be looked into. It cannot be just thrown out,” said Justice C Hari Shankar while addressing the counsel representing Ramdev.

Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal, representing the doctors’ associations, earlier argued that an immune booster was promoted by Ramdev as a medicine and cure against Covid despite the government saying you cannot do it. Sibal termed it a commercial gain speech. However, the court said that everyone has a right to commercial gain and no one works for free.

“The mere fact that he is making a profit or maybe even a huge profit is not really a ground. You have to establish that he is committing public nuisance or a wrongful act. Commercial gain is neither a public nuisance or wrongful act,” it added.

The court also observed that to ascertain whether a particular medicine is a treatment for an ailment or not is an extremely complicated process and the court cannot give such a finding in a suit.

The residents doctors’ association of AIIMS, Rishikesh and other unions representing the medicos in the lawsuit against Ramdev have sought a permanent and mandatory injunction against his “sustained and mala fide misinformation campaign” during the pandemic against allopathy and doctors practising in the field.

The suit filed by the medicos alleges that Ramdev was misleading the public by claiming that allopathy was responsible for the deaths of several people infected by Covid, and insinuating that allopathic doctors were causing the deaths of thousands of patients.

“(Ramdev) is a highly influential person and has a very large reach, with followers numbering several lacs on social media, and accordingly statements made by him have the potential to directly influence his followers into acting in terms of his directions,” it states.

The associations have also contended such a “misinformation campaign” during the ongoing pandemic has the propensity to divert people from allopathic treatments, which would be violative of the right to health of people in India.

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