The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday stayed an FIR lodged against a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) who, it was alleged, issued a ‘fake’ Covid positive certificate to an MLA, allowing the lawmaker to avoid a summons to a lower court.
The issue was threefold. First, whether the MLA had the right to not appear in person in court, when such non-appearances had been allowed during this pandemic and, secondly, whether the CMO’s certificate was genuine and third, was it right for a judicial officer to lodge an FIR without finding out the truth in the first two.
The highcourt’s division bench of Justices Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Ajit Singh found that the FIR was unwarranted.
The CMO, Dr Hargovind Singh, has been running vaccination services. He petitioned the high court against the FIR, lodged on December 26, 2020. It was lodged as Case U/s 120-B, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 IPC at Police Station – Kotwali, Khalilabad, District – Sant Kabir Nagar. Counsel Kaushalendra Nath Singh appeared for petitioner Singh.
The contention in the petition, as detailed by the counsel, was that the CMO had been made victim of criminal proceedings arising out of the FIR which was lodged under judicial order and without knowing much about the genuineness of the medical certificate issued by the petitioner.
The court said: “We are sorry to record it. Can we say that the insensitive judicial officer who has directed for lodgement of this First Information Report which is in the teeth of it cannot stand to judicial scrutiny of this Court?”
The Court added: “Even if we do not mention here that the Registrar General had already issued directions to all the judicial officers throughout the State of Uttar Pradesh for not insisting on personal appearance of the accused or parties in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, still the accused MLA was summoned, but he sent a report that he had tested corona positive, which was not relied upon by the Trial Judge and considering that report to be false without any basis, instead ordered for registering an FIR against the petitioner/Chief Medical Officer”.
As per the assertion of the advocate it is further sought to be contended that the petitioner/CMO was not the treating doctor; he had only given the certificate to the accused MLA and the report is on the website of the UP Government which could have been very well verified by the judge, the Court said.
The bench requested the Registrar General of the Court to remind the concerned judicial officer to abide by the guidelines of the High Court on Covid-19 pandemic in passing such orders in future.
Further, the Registrar General of the Court shall communicate to all the judges of the District Courts throughout the State of UP to be more careful during this pandemic and restrain themselves from passing such orders which may bring disrepute to the judicial system in the State more particularly during this ongoing period of pandemic.
The High Court has stayed the proceedings against Dr Singh. It has also restrained any coercive action against other co-accused in this case, to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.
The Court has fixed the next hearing of the Petition in the month of July, 2021.