Recently a red ant chutney (sauce) drew the attention of the Supreme Court on Thursday as it heard a petition looking for that the delicacy is directed as medicine for Covid-19. This chutney or sauce once made it to British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s menu too.
The bench, headed by Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud asked the lawyer, that “How can we ask the entire country to use a chutney as a cure for Covid-19?”, appearing for Odisha-based engineer and researcher Nayadhar Padhial who had petitioned the court.
“If you want to use it, use it. Nobody is stopping you but we, as a constitutional court, cannot ask people to start eating red ant chutney for treatment of Covid-19,” the bench, which also included justices Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli, added.
There is no scientific evidence that proves red ant chutney can protect people against coronavirus.
The red ant chutney is being used for several centuries and has also shown efficacy for boosting the immune system of a body, besides being corroborated through articles in a peer-reviewed journals, noted advocate Anirudh Sanganeria on his part.
Sanganeria argued that the ministry of AYUSH and CSIR refused to entertain his client’s request without mentioning the matter to a body of experts that could study the claims through scientific methods.
But the top court remained unconvinced, as it remarked that many people use various traditional methods of curing several diseases but that these do not translate into an order of a constitutional court
“We cannot pass such directions. Your representations were also considered by the Ministry of AYUSH and CSIR before they rejected it,” said the bench.
Justice Chandrachud in the end, asked the lawyer to guide his client to get vaccinated as soon as possible and not rely only on the chutney.
“Ask your client to get vaccinated,” said the judge. Sanganeria responded: “Yes my lords. He has already got the double dose of vaccine. He is also planning to get a booster shot.”
Tribal belts in several states, like Odisha and Chhattisgarh, consume red ant chutney or use it in a soup to cure flu, coughs, common cold, breathing difficulties, fatigue and other diseases. The chutney is primarily a mixture of red ants and green chilies.
Ramsay, who was travelling across India for a documentary on Indian food in 2010, stumbled upon the red ant chutney during his visit to Chhatisgarh. In 2018, he included this chutney in his documentary on international food.
Padhial, who is a resident of Baripada, said he belongs to a tribal community, Bathudi which has been using the red ant chutney effectively to boost the immune system. According to Padhial, the chutney contains formic acid, protein, calcium, Vitamin B12, Zinc and iron that boost the immune system, reported HT.
He initially approached the Odisha high court last year for examining the chutney’s efficacy as a remedy against Covid-19.