The Supreme Court, on September 9, 2021, dismissed a plea claiming that ‘red ant chutney’ could prevent COVID-19 infection. “We are not willing to entertain the Special Leave Petition,” said Judge DY Chandrachud, Hima Kohli and Vikram Nath, while dismissing the SLP filed against the Orissa HC order.
Er. Nayadhar Padhial, who works as an Assistant Engineer (Civil), Takatpur, R&B Section, Baripada, Mayurbhanj District and belongs to the Bathudi Tribal Adibasi community, approached the High Court claiming ‘Kaai (Kukuti) Chutney (paste)’ prepared using red ants, mixed with – green chillies (Dhanua Lanka) is a powerful drug that can boost the immune system and therefore, can help prevent infection of the COVID-19 virus.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, after considering his representation, has stated that he does not currently have the necessary expertise in the field of entomophagy and therefore will not be able to pursue any further action in the matter. The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences stated that the use of red ant chutney or soup for the benefit of a COVID-19 patient is “not in the preview of Ayurveda drugs as prescribed by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the rules, 1945.
The HC bench comprising of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray, while dismissing the plea, argued that the tribal communities use the red ant chutney or soup for medical and therapeutic purposes based on their traditional knowledge systems which the Court is not prepared to comment upon.