Patna high court orders removal of all pharmacy council members

PATNA: The Patna high court has directed the Bihar government to remove all the members, including the chairman of Bihar Pharmacy Council, from their post due to gross impropriety in the way the institution carried out its affairs. The court also directed the State to ensure that elections to the council under the Act and the rules get conducted at the earliest.

Hearing a writ petition on Monday, the bench of chief justice Sanjay Karol and justice Sanjay Kumar also directed the DGP to ensure that investigation with respect to FIR and Vigilance case is completed, if not already so done, and report submitted in accordance with law at the earliest. However, this must positively be done within a period of four weeks from today. The matter is again listed on June 23 before which the additional secretary, Health Department, SP (Vigilance) and DGP have to file their reports of compliance.

“Nabin Kuamr, president, Bihar State Pharmacy Council shall fully co-operate and forthwith hand over the charge of the affairs of the council to the officer-in-charge of the Drugs Control Organisation of the State under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, who is member ex-officio by virtue of the provisions in the Pharmacy Act, 1948. If Nabin Kumar or anyone of the elected members obstruct the course of inquiry and/or investigation, we would not refrain from initiating proceedings of contempt against them. In fact, they all volunteer to fully co-operate in the inquiry,” it said.

Maintaining that the “the management and the affairs of the council are not being conducted by the present incumbent/ officiating elected office bearer, as it ought to be done, to achieve the aims and objects of the Pharmacy Act, 1948”, the bench said, “We clarify that pendency of any proceedings, except for any direction issued by Hon’ble the Supreme Court of India, shall not come in the way of early completion of such inquiry and investigation. We are also of the considered view that the Superintendent of Police, Vigilance Bureau, Bihar must also complete the investigation based on the information furnished by the petitioner.”

“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,” it added.

The court was upset that it took at least five months to relieve Bindeshwar Nayak, who was illegally and unauthorizedly officiating as registrar of the Council only after the April 27 court order. The court was also apprised of the two FIRs lodged in June 5, 2010 and December 20, 2013 in reference to the mismanagement, conduct and affairs of the Council. “Significantly, no progress whatsoever stands made in this regard. 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. Despite several communications issued by the government asking the president as also the council to forward the names of the registrar , it was not done,” the court was told.

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