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Judiciary

SC rebukes IMA chief; rejects apology for remarks

By Jhanak Singh      15 May, 2024 11:02 AM      0 Comments
SC rebukes IMA chief rejects apology for remarks

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuked Indian Medical Association President R V Asokan for his remarks made against the top court in an ongoing contempt proceedings against Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and Patanjali's MD Acharya Balkrishna in misleading advertisements case.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah declined to consider an unconditional apology tendered by him during his personal appearance before the court, saying he has to answer for his conduct.

The court also asked him why he should not tender public apology as done by Baba Ramdev.

“We expected more sense of responsibility from you while giving the interview, you cannot vent your internal feelings in the press like this and that too, against the order of this court, words chosen in the interview. How could you do that,” the bench asked he IMA President, who apologised for his statement.

Balkrishna through his counsel brought press statements reportedly made by Asokan on record for taking a judicial notice and appropriate action against him.

In his statement, Asokan had reportedly said, "It does not behove the Supreme Court to take a broadside against the medical profession of the country which after all sacrificed so many lives for the Covid war."

In response to his apology, the bench said judges do not react on criticism of their orders, as they do not have an ego.

“You attacked the institution; your comment was on the institution. Personally, we are magnanimous…we are entitled to take action, we do not do that because we do not have an ego. We do that seldom, very rarely," the bench said.

The bench, referring to an affidavit filed by Asokan, asked him how it should accept that the apology was heart felt.

"Very unfortunate….you dragged the other side (Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna) to the court for valid reasons according to you saying that they are taking the whole world for a ride,” the bench said.

Referring to Baba Ramdev, the bench told Ashokan that he did the same thing in an interview after the court passed the order.

“You did exactly the same, how can we give you the benefit of the doubt, you are the petitioner,” the bench asked him.

The bench said the court took IMA's plea seriously enough to call the other side, Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, and reject their apologies not once, not twice, and more than three times as, “it was not coming from the heart. We have the same to say about your affidavit”.

“You cannot sit on a couch giving an interview to the press and lampooning the court in a sub judice matter and in a matter which you are a party, we are not all very unhappy with your affidavit, this conduct cannot be condoned so easily,” the bench told him.

“You point fingers at the other side and you behaved in the same manner or worse," bench told him asking him what kind of example the IMA president is setting for the rest of his colleagues, 3.50 Lakh doctors.

The bench also asked Ashokan why didn’t he give a public apology.

"Why did you wait to come here? You could have gone to the same news agency and said what you are telling us on the affidavit," the bench told him.

The bench told senior advocate P S Patwalia, representing IMA, “We are not at this stage inclined to accept the apology tendered by your client”.

In the matter, he court allowed a plea by senior advocate Balbir Singh, to dispense with personal appearance for Ramdev and Balkrishna and reserved order in the contempt case against them.

The court said Baba Ramdev enjoyed a lot of influence on the public, and he should use it in the right way.

"What he has been done for yoga is good, but Patanjali products are another matter,” the bench said.

A petition was filed by the IMA in 2022 alleging a smear campaign by Patanjali and Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev against the Covid vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine.

 



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