The Delhi High Court Thursday said it will hear on July 19 a plea by seven doctors’ associations alleging public nuisance and misrepresentation by Yog guru Ramdev on account of his statements against allopathy amid the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. Justice C Hari Shankar directed the counsel for the associations to place on record the videos pertaining to the alleged misinformation. The associations before court are three Resident Doctors’ Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rishikesh, Patna and Bhubaneshwar, Association of Resident Doctors, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, Union of Resident Doctors of Punjab (URDP); Resident Doctors’ Association, Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut and Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association, Hyderabad.
The associations were represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Akhil Sibal and advocate Harshvardhan Kotla. They alleged that Ramdev was misleading and misrepresenting to the public at large that allopathy was responsible for the deaths of several people infected by COVID19 virus, and insinuating that allopathic doctors were causing deaths and profiteering off the patients. In their plea, the associations have submitted that the yoga guru was sowing doubts in the minds of general public with respect to the safety and efficacy of not only allopathic treatments but also COVID-19 vaccines. Being a highly influential person, it is apprehended that Ramdev’s statements can influence lakhs of people and divert them from allopathic treatments which are prescribed as the standard form of care even by the government, they said. The associations alleged that the misinformation campaign was nothing but an advertisement and marketing strategy to further the sales of the product sold by Ramdev, including Coronil which claims to be an alternative treatment for COVID-19.
With the third wave of COVID-19 likely to set in August, it is imperative that Ramdev’s sustained misinformation campaign be brought to a halt, the association has pleaded. The court on June 3 had issued summons to Ramdev on a plea by Delhi Medical Association in connection with his statements against allopathic medicines and claiming Patanjali’s Coronil kit is a cure for COVID-19. The court had refused to restrain Ramdev at that stage saying the allopathic profession was not so fragile. It had however orally asked Ramdev’s counsel to tell him not to make any provocative statements.