New Delhi (PTI) The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the Bihar government for not taking action against fake pharmacists and doctors in the state, saying the court cannot permit it to play with the lives of people.
A bench of justices MR Shah and MM Sundresh reserved its verdict on an appeal filed against a Patna High Court order by pharmacist Mukesh Kumar seeking action against fake pharmacists practicing in the state. The high court on December 9, 2019, had asked Kumar to give the names of fake practitioners so that necessary action could be taken against them. “It’s a serious issue. It’s the duty of the Bihar government to ensure that not a single hospital or pharmacy is run by the fake pharmacists in the state. We cannot let the state government play with the lives of the people,” the apex court bench said.
“If an untrained person administers wrong medicine or gives a wrong dosage, it will prove dangerous for the people. Who will be held responsible? In states like Bihar, the problem is not limited to fake pharmacists but fake doctors also,” it said. Advocate Rachita Rai, appearing for Kumar, pointed out that the fact-finding committee constituted by the Pharmacy Council of India in its report has stated that fake degrees were given in large numbers. The advocate appearing for the Bihar government said the state will be taking action if any complaint is filed and pointed out that at present, the Bihar State Pharmacy Council is defunct and fresh election has to take place. The bench told the state government’s counsel that the question is not whether it will take action when the complaint is lodged but what action will be taken against fake pharmacists. “Where there is poverty and illiteracy, people tend to go to these pharmacists and doctors, who do not have necessary degrees. You do not understand the seriousness of the matter. The condition of hospitals in Bihar is the worst and you are saying that the state will take action, when a complaint is lodged,” it said. The counsel said the state pharmacy council is responsible for registration of pharmacists and it is to take action against fake practitioners.
On November 7, the top court while issuing a notice to the Bihar State Pharmacy Council had said the appeal against the Patna High Court order is with respect to fake pharmacists in the state.
“From the impugned order, it appears that at the relevant time, the Pharmacy Council of India/Bihar State Pharmacy Council constituted a fact finding committee and its report was already forwarded to the state government. Nothing is on record what further steps are taken by the state government to stop the fake pharmacists functioning in the state”, it had said. The bench had said it cannot be disputed that by permitting the fake pharmacists to run medical stores and/or function, it will be playing with the life of citizens.
“The state ought to have been vigilant to curb and stop the fake pharmacists”, it had said and asked the state government to file an affidavit giving details of steps taken to stop fake pharmacists from functioning and more particularly, on the basis of the report submitted by the fact finding committee constituted by Pharmacy Council of India.
Case Title: Mukesh Kumar vs State of Bihar, Supreme Court of India, Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 8799/2020