The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Baba Ramdev to place before it the original record of his statement on the use of allopathic medicine during COVID-19 pandemic. “What is the original thing which he has said? You have not placed the whole thing,” a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana asked senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for the yoga guru.
Rohatgi told the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, that he would file the original video along with the transcript. Okay, the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on July 5.
The top court was hearing Ramdev’s plea seeking stay on the proceedings in connection with multiple FIRs lodged against him by Indian Medical Association (IMA) in Bihar and Chhattisgarh over his remarks against use of allopathic medicine during COVID-19 pandemic. The Patna and Raipur chapters of the IMA have lodged complaints against Ramdev alleging that his remarks are likely to cause prejudice to the COVID control mechanism and may dissuade people from availing proper treatment against the pandemic.
In his plea, he has sought transfer of the FIRs lodged in Patna and Raipur to Delhi. During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, Rohatgi told the bench that Ramdev is a public figure and proponent of yoga and ayurveda.
He said that during an event, Ramdev had read out a WhatsApp message which was sent to him. Ramdev has clarified that he has nothing against doctors or anyone, Rohatgi said, adding that several complaints have been registered against at different places.
Different complaints and FIRs have been filed against him, he said, adding that these complaints be clubbed in Delhi. Rohatgi said that last year, when Patanjali had brought coronil’, allopathic doctors went against him.
He (Ramdev) is not against them. Why should he go to so many places. Everybody has freedom of speech, he said. The yoga guru has been booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to aa infection of disease dangerous to life) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC have been invoked against him. Ramdev, whose alleged statements created a nation-wide debate over Allopathy versus Ayurveda issue, however, had withdrawn his statements on May 23 after receiving a letter from Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan who had called his remarks as “inappropriate”.
Ramdev has sought clubbing of FIRs on the issue and their transfer to Delhi and as an interim relief, he has also urged for a stay on the investigation in connection with the criminal complaints.