Duty Of Pharmacy Council, State Govt To See That Hospitals/Medical Stores Are Not Run By Fake Pharmacists- SC
The Supreme Court has observed that under the provisions of the Pharmacy Act, of 1948, it is the duty of the Pharmacy Council and State Government to see that hospitals/medical stores, etc., are not run by fake pharmacists and are run by a registered pharmacist only.
The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice MM Sundresh deprecated the practice of the High Court and held that the manner in which Court had disposed of the PIL ventilating the very serious grievance touching the health and life of the citizen is disapproved.
In this case, the original Writ Petitioner had approached the High Court assailing the order of the Patna High Court. The Appellant had filed a Writ Petition before the High Court and prayed for issuance of necessary directions upon the Respondent-Authorities to not allow any person other than a registered Pharmacist to compound, mix, or dispense any medicine on the prescription of any medical practitioner because in various Govt. Hospitals, the persons, who are not a registered Pharmacist have been allowed to discharge the function of a Pharmacist inasmuch as at some places, even the Clerks, ANMs, Staff Nurse etc. have been assigned with the duty to be performed only by a registered Pharmacist.
Advocate Rachitta Rai appeared for the Appellant while Advocate Abhinav Mukerji appeared for the Respondent before the Court.
The Apex Court while noting the facts of the case noted that the High Court had disposed of the Writ Petition in the most casual manner by noting that the Bihar State Pharmacy Council had submitted that the fact-finding committee was constituted and they forwarded its report to the State Government.
In this context, the Bench further noted –
"The High Court has disposed of the said public interest litigation – writ petition by observing that the appellant, after verifying each case individually may invite the attention to such illegality either to the Bihar State Pharmacy Council or the State of Bihar."
The Court also noted that serious allegations were made against the Bihar State Pharmacy Council and the State Government for not taking any action with respect to fake pharmacist and/or running Government hospitals and/or other hospitals without registered pharmacist, thus the inaction on the part of these authorities has resulted in affecting the health of the citizens of the State.
The Court held that the High Court ought to have called upon the Bihar State Pharmacy Council to file the status report on the allegations of fake pharmacist and/or on how many Governments' hospitals/hospitals in the State are running without registered pharmacist.
In this context, the Bench thus observed –
"Running the hospitals/dispensaries in absence of any registered pharmacist and/or running such hospitals by fake pharmacist and even running the medical stores by fake pharmacist and without even any pharmacist will ultimately affect the health of the citizen. The State Government and the Bihar State Pharmacy Council cannot be permitted to play with the health and life of the citizen."
Furthermore, the Bench held, "Under the provisions of the Pharmacy Act, 1948 as well as the Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015, it is the duty cast upon the Pharmacy Council and the State Government to see that the hospitals/medical stores, etc., are not run by the fake pharmacist and are run by the registered pharmacist only."
The Court held that the High Court has failed to exercise the powers vested in it under Article 226 of the Constitution, thus the impugned order of the Court is unsustainable.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal and quashed and set aside the impugned order of the High Court and remanded the matter to the High Court for fresh consideration and held –
"While considering the writ petition the High Court should bear in mind the public interest and the health of the citizen. The High Court to take up the writ petition for hearing on remand within a period of four weeks from today. The Registry is directed to send the copy of this order to the High Court forthwith."
Cause Title – Mukesh Kumar v. The State of Bihar & Ors.