The Allahabad High Court held that investigation under CrPC for offences under IPC are not barred under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (the Act) while addressing the allegations of the creation of forged test lab reports.

The Court held that the allegations made in the impugned FIR regarding the creation of forged test lab reports to claim substandard drugs of standard quality constituted a cognizable offence and justified the registration of the FIR.

The Court, while addressing the issue of substandard drug encounters, stated that it was a major stringent issue for the health system and could not be ignored.

The complainant had purchased 2000 injections from VADSP Pharmaceuticals and delivered them for sale to a hospital. The doctors in the hospital complained about the substandard quality of the injections and stated they could be injurious to the health of the children and posed a potential threat to their lives. The complainant immediately took back the entire stock from their distributors and hospitals and informed the accused. The accused had clandestinely shown all parameters as correct in a certificate delivered along with the injections.

A Division Bench of Justice Vivek Kumar Birla and Justice Vinod Diwakar observed, “On giving a bird's eye view of the ingredients of Sections 16, 17, 17A, and 17B of the Act, it would safely be concluded that these sections deal with the definition of standard quality, misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs, not with the creation of forged documents and using as genuine. Therefore, the element of forgery could only be investigated by the police under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and not under the Chapter IV of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Advocate Seema Singh Jadaun represented the petitioners, while ​​G.A. Ashok Kumar Singh Bais appeared for the respondents.

After the petitioners were informed about the injections, they sent a DN Laboratory Report that did not match the test report of the complainant. An FIR was registered against the petitioners on the accusation that the complainant had fraudulently prepared a test report.

The Court noted that “the consumer does not know about the manufacturer or quality of the products. Many times, they are unaware of expired, degraded or substandard products, which ultimately results in treatment failure and, with antibiotics, leads to anti-bacterial resistance. This problem is very serious and rapidly growing, causing serious repercussions on the health of the citizens.

The Court clarified that although prosecution for offences under Section 32 of the Act cannot be instituted, police can still investigate for offences under the Indian Penal Code. The Court further stated that the provisions of the Act do not have an override effect on any other law in force.

The Court stated that on a reading of the impugned FIR, where there were allegations of the creation of fake test reports to give an impression of the drug being of standard quality, there was no investigation regarding it yet.

The Court held “The evidence has to be gathered after a thorough investigation and shall be placed before the Court on the basis of which alone the court can come to the conclusion one way or the other on the plea of right of the complainant to register the FIR.”

The Court explained that the principal purpose of the registration of the FIR and the intended follow-up action was only to investigate the allegations and present a case before the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title: Keshav Kumar & Ors. v. State Of U.P. & Ors. (2024:AHC:21101-DB)


Petitioners: Advocates Seema Singh Jadaun and Jitendra Pal Singh

Respondents: ​​G.A. Ashok Kumar Singh Bais and Vineet Singh Parmar

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