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Patanjali Ayurved Slapped With Fine Of Rs 11 Lakh For Misleading Advertisements By Haridwar Court

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Patanjali Dant Kanti Baba Ramdev Advertising ASCI

Patanjali Ayurved, the shining example of a successful ‘Made in India’ FMCG brand, which is threatening to wipe out existing billion dollar FMCG global biggies, has just experienced its first major public embarrassment.

A Haridwar Court has slapped a fine of Rs 11 lakh on Patanjali Ayurved for misleading advertisements, and this judgement can actually pave the way for more such penalties and fines, considering the growing number of consumer complaints against them and other companies which have been dishonest about their advertisements.

Why Was Patanjali Fined?

A case was filed against Patanjali way back in 2012, whose judgement was now delivered by the Haridwar Court.

On August 16, 2012, Haridwar health department’s food safety division took few samples of Patanjali’s honey, mustard oil, pineapple jam, gram flour and iodized salt and sent them to Uttarakhand’s one and only FSSAI-certified drugs & food testing lab located at Rudrapur.

The product tests report failed as the products were not manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved, but instead were procured from somewhere else, and then re-packaged under Patanjali’s brand name.

A case was lodged at Haridwar Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Court against the Patanjali Ayurved (because they are also Haridwar based)

The case was fought for 4 years, and finally, the Court of Lalit Narain Mishra, Haridwar’s additional district magistrate found Patanjali guilty.

Laws Which Patanjali Broke

The Court declared that Patanjali has misinterpreted the origin of their products, and convicted them for misbranding their products via false advertisements.

The fine of Rs 11 lakh was imposed under Section 52 (misbranding) and Section 53 (misleading advertisement) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as well as Section 23.1 (5) of Food Safety and Standard (Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 2011) Act.

The court found Patanjali Ayurved guilty of “releasing misleading advertisements by selling certain products with its labels although they were being manufactured by some other firm.”

Haridwar Food Safety Officer Yogendra Pandey under whom the samples were taken in 2012 and sent for tests, said, “The case went on for four years and on December 1, the ADM court asked Patanjali Ayurved to pay Rs. 11 lakh as fine for indulging in misbranding and misleading advertising,”

Court has directed Patanjali to pay the fines within a month, and have asked the Govt. agencies to monitor Patanjali’s products closely for any other violations.

Interestingly, when Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) found some advertisements of Patanjali as misleading, and uncompetitive, then Baba Ramdev had declared ASCI as unconstitutional body, and had threatened to sue them for defamation.

This year, Patanjali has already beaten leading MNCs and FMCG biggies in TV advertisements, as they are aiming to double their revenues from Rs 5000 cr to Rs 10,000 cr.

  1. Bhimashankar says

    Curious case of Patanjali

    This fine of Rs. 11 lakhs could be imposed under Section 52 of the Labeling and Packing Act for misleading consumers by making false claims about the product. “Patanjali Ayurved”, a trusted brand backed by a trusted Global Guru might have resorted to such tawdry marketing gimmicks because a pie of $40 billion processed food industry, growing annually at 11 % is at stake here.

    A handful of Patanjali products like Ghee, Noodles, Honey etc. are not approved by FSSAI . Supreme Court has quashed the FSSAI product-approval advisory on 19th august 2015 which essentially means that FSSAI could not force food operators to seek approvals for products being manufactured and marketed for years unless such a product had a new ingredient that needed testing for safety purposes.So, Patanjali is right in this aspect of not seeking FSSAI approval as there is a vacuum in food regulation space.

    When Patanjali products are consumed by millions, the brand needs to comply with safety regulations for the safety of consumers . Baba Ramdev’s word cannot be taken as “certification “ for the safety of consumable product. As a proud Indian company, Patanjali should follow Indian food safety standards, Advertising standards and should also adhere to guidelines of Competition Commission of India.

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