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Patna HC Directs State Govt To Remove All Members, Including The Chairman Of Bihar Pharmacy Council From Their Posts

Brij Nandan
12 May 2022 6:54 AM GMT
Patna High Court Directs State Government To Remove All The Members, Including The Chairman Of Bihar Pharmacy Council From Post
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Image By: Siddharth Anand

The Patna High Court has directed the state government to remove all the members, including the chairman of Bihar Pharmacy Council from their post, in a case in which the Registrar of Bihar Pharmacy Council was continuing to work even after retiring.

While hearing the PIL filed by petitioner Uma Shankar Sharma, A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar ordered the state government, to appoint any ex-officio member as the Registrar within 24 hours.

"Till such time the inquiry is complete, we direct that the affairs of the Bihar State Pharmacy Council shall be conducted only by such of those members, who stand nominated or are officiating in their capacity as ex officio members, stipulated under the Act."

Before the court, Advocate Shilpi Keshari, appearing for the petitioner stated that Nabin Kumar, officiating Chairman of the said Council, has been conducting the affairs, as though the Council and its property is his personal fiefdom. He further submitted that it took at least five months for the said President to relieve Shri Bindeshwar Nayak, respondent no.7, who was illegally and unauthorizedly officiating as Registrar of the Council.

Mr. Shilpi also submitted two facts; (i)That there was no progress with regard to the two FIRs dated 05.06.2010 and 20.12.2013, registered in reference to the mismanagement, conduct, and affairs of the Council, and (ii) That the present officiating Chairman/President has been party to the issuance of registration certificates of Pharmacists on ascertaining information through telephone and not after proper verification of facts with regard to eligibility of the candidate. He stated that the acting President/President used to give licenses to the pharmacists in an irregular manner. They used to arbitrarily ignore the rules and give the license over the phone.

Before the court, Mr. Ajay Behari Sinha, appearing for the Respondent, submitted to the Court that several communications were issued by the Government asking the President as also the Council to forward the names of the Registrar. Regretfully, even this was not done.

The Court observed that the Chairman of Bihar State Pharmacy had not complied with the direction of the Court to respond to the Government's communication dated March 25, 2022.

The court was of the view that the management and conduct of the affairs of the Council were not being carried out by the present office-bearer/officer elected office bearer, as it should have been done to achieve the objects and objectives of the Pharmacy Act, 1948. The Court reminded the Government as also the Council that the Act was enacted and the Council was established for regulating the profession and practice of pharmacy, ensuring high standards. The Council, inter alia, is empowered and authorised to carry out inspections of the institutions and make regulations for strengthening not only the Council but also several institutions imparting training to the pharmacists within the State. All this has not been done.

The Court directed that "..the State must exercise its power under Section 45(5) of the Pharmacy Act and have a proper inquiry conducted with regard to the management and affairs of the Council. In the attending circumstances, we would have directed the State to exercise such power, but leave it to their wisdom to do so immediately"

The court also directed the Director-General of Police, Bihar to ensure that investigation with respect to FIR(s) is completed, if not already so done, and the report submitted in accordance with law at the earliest. However, this must positively be done within a period of four weeks. The court further clarified that pendency of any proceedings, save and expect, for any direction issued by the Supreme Court of India, shall not come in the way of early completion of such inquiry and investigation.

The court also directed the Superintendent of Police, Vigilance Bureau, Bihar must also complete the investigation based on the information furnished by the petitioner and the report submitted positively within four weeks.

The Court also directed the Principal Secretary of the State Health Department to immediately appoint a new officer to the post of Registrar.

The case has been posted to 23rd June 2022 for further hearing.

Case Title: Uma Shankar Sharma Vs. The State of Bihar through the Principal Secretary, Department of Health, Government of Bihar, Patna

Case No: Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.20704 of 2021

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Pat) 15

Click here to read/download the judgment

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