Supreme Court: In the serious matter relating to fake pharmacists in Bihar, the bench of MR Shah* and MM Sundresh, JJ has held that the State Government and the Bihar State Pharmacy Council cannot be permitted to play with the health and life of the citizen as,
“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.”
In the case at hand, serious allegations were made against the Bihar State Pharmacy Council and the State of Bihar for not taking any action with respect to fake pharmacist and/or running the Government’s hospitals and/or other hospitals without registered pharmacist and the in-action on the part of the Bihar State Pharmacy Council/State Government has resulted into the affected health of the citizen.
The Patna High Court order had disposed of the public interest litigation ‘in a most casual manner’ by taking note of the fact that the Bihar State Pharmacy Council has submitted that the fact-finding committee was constituted and they forwarded its report to the State Government. The High Court had, further, observed 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 Supreme Court has set aside this impugned order after observing 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.
“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 Court has, hence, remanded the matter to the High Court to consider the writ petition afresh after calling the detailed report/counter from the State of Bihar and Bihar State Pharmacy Council on: –
- how many Governments’ hospitals/hospitals/medical stores/private hospitals are being run either by fake pharmacist or without registered pharmacist;
- whether any action is taken by the State Government on the fact-finding committee report submitted by the Bihar State Pharmacy Council which was reported to be forwarded to the State Government;
- whether there are any fake pharmacists as alleged in the writ petition;
- any action is taken by the State Government or by the Bihar State Pharmacy Council against such fake pharmacist;
- whether the Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015 are being followed in the entire State of Bihar or not.
The Court has asked the High Court to take up the matter within 4 weeks and to bear in mind the public interest and the health of the citizen while considering the writ petition.
[Mukesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1636, decided on 29.11.2022]
*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah