‘State govt, pharma council can’t play with life of people’, SC on fake pharmacists in Bihar

The Supreme Court has said that the state government and its pharmacy council cannot be allowed to play with the health and life of the citizens, while examining allegations fake pharmacists were running hospitals and medical stores in Bihar.

A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and M.M. Sundresh said: “The State Government and the Bihar State Pharmacy Council cannot be permitted to play with the health and life of the citizen.”

It further added, “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 bench said 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 top court made these observations while restoring a PIL in Patna High Court, alleging fake pharmacists running medical stores and hospitals in Bihar.

The bench said the manner in which the high court has disposed of the public interest litigation – writ petition ventilating the very serious grievances touching the health and life of the citizen is disapproved.

“The High Court has failed to exercise the powers vested in it under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court disposing of the writ petition is unsustainable,” it added.

The bench observed that there were serious allegations against the Bihar State Pharmacy Council and the state government for not taking any action in the matter.

“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 run without registered pharmacist,” it added, in a judgment delivered on a petition filed by Mukesh Kumar.

The apex court set aside the high court’s order passed on December 9, 2019, saying it has disposed of the plea in a most casual manner and remanded the matter back to the high court asking it to decide the issues afresh within four weeks.

The bench also asked the high court to call for a detailed report from the state government and Bihar State Pharmacy Council on fake pharmacists.

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