On May 11th, 2023, a legal notice was issued to Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd., named after a Hindu mythological philosopher, concerning the infringement of consumer rights and gross violations. Failing to provide clarifications within 15 days of receiving the notice, legal proceedings will be initiated against the Ayurved company before the authorities. The appellant, Lawyer Shasha Jain, belongs to the vegetarian community. The plea raised concerns about “the deceptive use of Samudra phen (cuttlefish) in its product Divya Dant Manjan while labelling it as green”. She explained on Twitter how using a non-vegetarian ingredient like cuttlefish bone in a product labelled green (vegetarian) for marketing and selling violates consumer rights and offends her community and many other vegetarian communities. This is inclusive of their religious sentiments being hurt as Samudra phen is an animal-based drug by the company.
It is to be noted that Patanjali’s official website, Patanjali Divya Kant Manjan includes Samudra phen (cuttlefish) used as an ingredient in the quantity of 4.40g along with other ingredients like Neem, Pudina, Saindha Namak, etc.
This is not the first time that the Baba Ramdev-led company is accused of deceiving its consumers. In November 2022 and in May 2016, various concerns were raised by practising doctors from Kerela and New Delhi regarding the company’s claim of Patanjali Eye Drops as a cure for severe eye conditions like glaucoma and cataract. They remarked this as something hazardous that puts human life at risk.
Lately, the company has also faced a fine of Rs 75.08 crore by the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA). This is due to their failure in passing the benefits of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Rate reduction onto their customers. The NAA in a statement said, “Patanjali has denied the benefit of tax reduction to consumers in contravention of the Central GST Act, therefore a showcase notice be issued directing it to explain why the penalty should be imposed”.