Take stringent action on medical corruption: High Court to Govt

The High Court on Saturday directed the government to implement the regulations providing mechanism to deal with medical corruption in Jammu and Kashmir.

Closing a suo moto Public Interest litigation which it had initiated after taking cognizance of articles published in Greater Kashmir and The Hindu in 2016, a division bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice D S Thakur directed Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education to provide wide publicity to Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.

While the court directed the government to take all necessary measures for effective implementation of the Regulations on the ground, it said the violations reported must be dealt with stringently.

“The general public must be made aware of the action taken in case of defaulters so that a message goes to one and all that the laws are not meant to be eroded but to be followed,” court said.

The court said although it closed the PIL, it would continue to keep an eye on the effective implementation of the laws on the subject and the authorities would be required to send a report on monthly basis to its Registry. The report, the court said, should be detailing out the complaints addressed to it by the public and the action taken pursuant to such complaints.

The court asked the Registry to maintain an index in this behalf.

The court said during the pendency of the PIL, it noticed that there was a well-established mechanism which deals with the issues raised in the PIL. The only missing link, the court said, appeared to be the ill-awareness of such mechanism among the general public.

The court however said the issues related to sale, procurement, and distribution of sub-standard drugs were being dealt with by it in a PIL of 2013 titled Dr Nissar-ul-Hassan vs State and others.

“We feel that in existence of the relevant rules, the court does not require to run any parallel proceedings and accordingly, the proceedings initiated in this PIL deserve to be closed,” the bench said.

The court closed the PIL after observing that Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education Department had filed an affidavit indicating the action taken in respect of the companies whose drugs were found on analysis sub-standard besides the steps taken for ensuring procuring of standard drugs for the government hospitals.

“The respondents appear to have taken considerable steps in the matter since the time the court has shown its indulgence,” the court said.

The court however held that its concern was to see that the hardships faced by the general public on account of medical malpractices was taken care of effectively and a stringent course was provided for dealing with any unethical and unprofessional omissions or commissions of the medical fraternity. In 2017, Medical Council of India filed an affidavit accompanied with the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, which prescribe many mechanisms to deal with almost all the issues raised in the PIL.

While additional advocate general Shah Aamir represented the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Tahir Shamsi represented the Union Health Secretary. Advocate Shakir Haqani assisted the court on behalf of amicus curiae Altaf Haqani.