The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, June 3, refused Delhi Medical Association's (DMA) request to restrain Yoga Guru Ramdev for his statements against allopathy, saying that he was entitled to his opinion under free speech laws.
Refusing to pass any order, the Court said that Ramdev's statements on allopathy fell within the parameters of Freedom of Speech and Expression.
However, the Court issued a notice to Ramdev and orally told him not to make any provocative statements until the next hearing date (July 13).
The doctors' body had filed a lawsuit and sought token damage of Re 1 along with an unconditional apology. The Court asked the association to file litigation, saying that lawsuit couldn't be filed for one's opinion. Even if the claims made are wrong or misleading, public interest litigation (PIL) could be filed but not a suit.
The counsel representing the DMA had argued that Ramdev's statements were affecting the doctors, as he claimed allopathy as the reason for the deaths of people amid the pandemic. DMA had also sought to restrain Ramdev from disseminating false information about Coronil, an immunity-booster by Patanjali.
Right To Voice Opinion
A single bench of Justice C Hari Shankar said the allopathic profession was not so fragile that the doctor's body had to approach the Court. Shankar said that the fraternity should be concerned with beating the pandemic and looking into public health interests rather than filing suits.
"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," The Indian Express quoted Justice Shankar.
Terming Ramdev's statements as 'public opinion, the Court said that any case seeking blocking of statements has to be tested on the anvil of Article 19 (1) (a). Justice Shankar said that one had a right to voice an opinion that might favour some and appear offensive to others.
The Court said that there are experts and established medical institutions to verify the claims regarding any treatments or medications.
"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 believes 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.
"Let's say 10,000 people bought Coronil, and 9,500 died. You go to media and say that Coronil has killed 95 per cent. In that case, Ramdev will file a suit against you? Allopathy has worked for some and not for some. It's a view," the Court stressed.
The Court also called out the association for not submitting the video clips of Ramdev's speeches and instead relying on web links.