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High Court Bench quashes case registered against cardiologist

Mohamed Imranullah S.

He was accused of possessing drugs without a valid licence


“Mere possession of drugs will not constitute offence”

“Only evidence is some bills produced by the landlord”


MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has quashed a case registered against a cardiologist on charges of stocking various drugs, allegedly meant for sale, in his hospital without obtaining a valid licence under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Allowing a petition filed by him, Justice G.M. Akbar Ali said that mere possession of drugs would not constitute an offence under Section 18 (c) of the Act unless there was evidence to prove that the doctor had actually sold or attempted to sell those drugs.

The judge also pointed out that a Drug Inspector of Tirunelveli Range, had inspected cardiologist S. Selvam's hospital near the Tirunelveli main road on November 10, 2009 following a complaint lodged by another doctor, Subramanian, who was none other than the petitioner's landlord.

Rivalry

“It is to be noted that there is a rivalry between the petitioner and the landlord… Therefore, mere possession will not attract an offence under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the continuance of the proceedings is nothing but abuse of process of law initiated with an intention to harass the petitioner,” the judge said.

He also pointed out that the Drug Inspector had only accused the petitioner of stocking various drugs in a separate room in the hospital. There was no allegation that the stocks were exhibited for sale.

He had also not seized any book of sale receipts or bills from the petitioner.

The only evidence against the petitioner was some bills that were produced by the landlord.

Those bills could not be relied upon to prosecute the cardiologist without examining their validity or genuineness by enquiring the persons in whose names they had been issued, the judge also added.

He also recalled that the Supreme Court in Mohammed Shabir Vs. State of Maharashtra (1979) had held that a person would be liable for prosecution only if it was proved that he was manufacturing or stocking the drugs for sale without a licence.

Possession, no offence

Mere possession of the drugs was not an offence.

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