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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Delhi High Court says Ramdev’s statements on allopathy fall within parameters of freedom of speech

Refusing to pass any interim injunction against Yoga guru Ramdev, Justice C Hari Shankar said the allopathic profession is not so fragile that the doctor’s body will rush to the court.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: June 4, 2021 10:23:20 am
Ramdev, ramdev statement on allopathy, doctors protest ramdev's remarksAIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital doctors announced black day against Ramdev Baba, against his statement, New Delhi. On Tuesday, June 01, 2021. (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha)

Refusing to pass any interim injunction against Yoga guru Ramdev, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said his statements against allopathy come within the parameters of right to freedom of speech and expression. Issuing summons in the suit filed by Delhi Medical Association (DMA) against Ramdev and others, the court listed it for hearing on July 13.

Justice C Hari Shankar said the allopathic profession is not so fragile that the doctor’s body will rush to the court. “You people should be interested in finding out ways to beat the pandemic, proceeding in interest of public health, rather than taking up court time and having litigations,” the court told the DMA.
“We have something called Article 19 (1) (a) in the country. If I feel particular science is fake and make a statement in the public domain that the science is fake, what is so actionable about it,” continued the court.

Calling Ramdev’s statements “public opinion” and observing that “shackles” cannot put on such views, the court said that any case seeking blocking of statements has to be tested on the anvil of Article 19 (1) (a).

“There is a right to air an opinion or to voice an opinion. Sometimes the opinion is, maybe, voiced in a terminology which may appear to be very offensive. Some people may be more vitriolic than others in the manner in which they express what they want to say. Someone may be more temperate. Someone may be more intemperate,” it added.

The court also said that there are protocols and institutions in place to check false medical claims or magic remedies and it cannot say whether Coronil, a product of Ramdev’s Patanjali, is a cure for Covid-19 or not. It said the same is to be decided by medical experts.

“The fact that people have taken allopathic medicine, it has worked in many people, maybe a majority of people, but there are people in whom it has not worked. Someone is there who has a view that it is because of the absolute inefficacy of the allopathic system of treatment that so many people have died. He airs that view on a public platform. I think that comes within the parameters of Article 19 1(a),” it said.

The counsel representing the DMA earlier argued before the court that Ramdev’s statements were affecting the doctors and he was calling the science fake in the midst of pandemic, which “ultimately will affect the health of the nation”. DMA has also sought to restrain Ramdev from “disseminating false information” about Coronil.

Ramdev’s counsel, senior advocate Rajiv Nayar objected to maintainability of the suit. The court orally told him to tell Ramdev to not make any provocative statements.

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