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SC Criticized IMA President For Targetting Apex Court In An Interview

The Supreme Court strongly criticized the President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr. RV Asokan for his remarks in an interview where he targeted the apex court while answering the questions about Patanjali’s misleading advertisement case. Asokan criticized the Supreme Court for telling the IMA to deal with complaints about unethical behavior by its doctors.

He called these comments “unfortunate” and said, “It’s not right for the Supreme Court to criticize the medical profession.” The Court emphasized its support for freedom of speech but also stressed the importance of self-restraint. Notably, the IMA is the petitioner in a case against Patanjali for making misleading claims about its products.

The bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice A Amanullah reprimanded Mr Asokan today, stating, “We would have expected a greater sense of responsibility from you… You cannot express your grievances against the Court in the media like this. What prompted this sudden outburst?”

In response, Mr Asokan offered an unconditional apology. Justice Kohli responded, “Considering the severity of your earlier remarks, it’s questionable whether we should accept your apology. You were the one who brought the other party to Court, alleging they were defaming you, but when it comes to your own conduct…?”

The bench also expressed dissatisfaction with Mr Asokan’s affidavit. Questioning why he didn’t issue a public apology, the Court inquired, “You had everything in writing, so why didn’t you take steps to apologize if you truly meant it? What efforts did you make to rectify the situation after the interview? Tell us.”

Justice Kohli remarked, “We are staunch supporters of free speech, but there are occasions when exercising self-restraint is crucial. As the President of the IMA, you should have exercised self-restraint. That’s the crux of the matter! We didn’t observe that in your interviews.”

Justice Amanullah added, “Dr. Asokan, you are also a citizen of this country. Judges face a significant amount of criticism, but why don’t they respond? It’s because, personally, we don’t have much of an ego; we are magnanimous. While we have the authority to take action, we rarely do.”

The bench emphasized that judges exercise discretion with a sense of responsibility. “However, this doesn’t mean you can publicly make such comments. You cannot simply sit back and criticize the Court. What would you have done if the other party had made similar remarks? You would have immediately sought redress from this Court,” it remarked. The Court expressed its lack of conviction in the affidavit submitted by the IMA president, deeming it “too little, too late.”

When Senior Advocate PS Patwalia, representing the IMA president, sought relief from the Court, Justice Kohli remarked, “What applies to one, applies to all… You can’t freely say anything and¬†then¬†simply claim it was a mistake. Are you suggesting he fell into a trap?”

In recent weeks,¬†there has been a shift in¬†the dynamics of the case against Patanjali.¬†Previously,¬†Ramdev and Balkrishna were rebuked by the Court¬†for Patanjali’s advertisements claiming to cure ailments like high blood pressure and diabetes.¬†Despite multiple apologies from them being rejected by the Court, the IMA president’s interview has now¬†brought scrutiny upon¬†the¬†petitioner¬†medical body, leading to the Court’s reprimand. The next hearing for the matter has been scheduled for July 9.

 

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