HC quashes criminal proceedings against manufacturer, retailer

‘Impart training to Drug Inspectors’

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, July 28 : High Court while quashing the criminal proceedings as also the cognizance taken by the trial court in a complaint against a manufacturer of drugs and medical shop opined that the Controller, Drug and Food Control Organization (D&FCO) is required to impart training to Inspectors with regard to the compliance of procedure for initiating proceedings under the Act against the violators.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal allowed the plea of a drug supplier challenging the proceedings initiated against them on the basis of a complaint of the Drug Inspector for selling drugs of not standard quality and observed that there has been lapses on the part of the respondent-department in filing the complaint.
Court said it is not understandable as to when the sanction for filing the complaint was granted to the respondent by the Controller, Drug and Food Control Organization, J&K, Srinagar on 27.09.2017, then why the concerned Drug Inspector slept over the matter and did not proceed to file the complaint earlier and the complaint was filed only on 28.11.2017 whereas the shelf life of the drugs in question was expiring on 12/2017 and within such short possible time, it was not possible for the retesting the sample as well. “It seems either the respondent was hands in gloves with the petitioner or the concerned respondent was ignorant of the provisions of the Act”, reads the judgment.
Justice Oswal said the court has come across numerous such matters in which complaints under the Act are filed just before the expiry of the shelf life of the drugs or the complaint has been filed against the directors/partners without specifying their role.
Court said it is either because of connivance of the concerned drugs Inspectors with the violators or because of lack of knowledge of the procedure prescribed under the Act, many complaints are being quashed at the very initial stage for violation of mandatory procedure.
Court expected that the Controller, Drug and Food Control Organization J and K would take corrective steps so as to ensure that the procedure prescribed under the Act is duly complied with while launching prosecutions in future. ” Registry is directed to send a copy of this judgment to the Controller, Drug and Food Control Organization, Jammu and Kashmir for follow up action”, court directed.
Court said petitioner-drug supplier has been deprived of valuable right under section 25(3) and 25(4) of the Act, and as such, the Court has no other option but to quash the proceedings and as such, criminal proceedings in complaint under section 18(a)(i) of the Act titled, Drug Inspector, vs M/s N. K. Medical Hall and others pending before the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, concerned as also the order dated 30.11.2017 whereby the trial court has taken cognizance and issued process against the petitioner, are quashed.
Court has held that the statutory right of the petitioner for retesting the drugs in question under sections 25(3) and 25(4) of the Act has been violated by the respondent-department and the trial court has also proceeded in utter disregard of section 25(4) of the Act.
In the instant complaint was filed on 30.11.2017 and admittedly the shelf life of the drugs in question was having expiry as 12/2017 and within a short period it would have been impossible to get the sample retested before its expiry.