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Jharkhand HC directs state govt to decide on Drug licence of petitioner within 3 months

Petitioner Sunil Kumar Agarwal approached the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Kailash Prasad Deo for quashing of the letter dated July 7, 2020, passed by the Director (Drugs), State Drug Control Directorate, Ranchi, cancelling the licence of the petitioner.

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The Jharkhand High Court has directed the the competent appellate authority/ State Government/ Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Jharkhand, to decide the appeal of the petitioner within three months regarding cancellation of his Drug licence, “though there is lockdown because of Covid-19, since the livelihood of the petitioner is jeopardised”.

Petitioner Sunil Kumar Agarwal approached the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Kailash Prasad Deo for quashing of the letter dated July 7, 2020 passed by the Director (Drugs), State Drug Control Directorate, Ranchi, cancelling the licence of the petitioner.

Rohit Sinha, Counsel for the petitioner, submitted that though under Section 66(2) of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945, the appeal is to be preferred within a period of three months before the competent appellate authority/ State Government/ Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Jharkhand, but the Writ Petition is maintainable, even though there is alternative remedy under the law.

Mr Sinha further submitted that Patna High Court, in the case of Universal Drug House Pvt Ltd vs State of Bihar and Others, reported in AIR 2004 Pat 86, has already restored the licence of such defaulter, who has committed illegality in dealing with one drug, which was not authorised by the drug licencing authority. Complete cancellation of licence by the authority has been set aside by the Patna High Court and this judgement may also be considered.

It was further informed by the Counsel that the appeal was maintainable under Section 66(2) of the Drug and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 and the petitioner was also ready to prefer an appeal, but since the time has already elapsed, as such, delay in preferring the appeal may be condoned, if this Court directs the petitioner to prefer an appeal before the competent authority.

While considering the petition, Justice Deo directed the petitioner to prefer an appeal under Section 66(2) of the Drug and Cosmetic Rules, 1945, with application for condonation of delay, as the petitioner has preferred writ petition before this Court without preferring the appeal provided under Section 66(2) of the Drug and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.

If such petition is filed, the appellate authority/State Government/Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Jharkhand, shall look into the matter on merits and will also take note of all the judgements relied upon by the parties.

“It is expected that the concerned authority shall pass necessary order within a period of three months from the date of filing of the appeal, though there is lockdown because of the COVID-19, but since the livelihood of the petitioner is jeopardised and at stake because of such pendency of the litigation, as such.

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“This Court also directs the Health Secretary, Government of Jharkhand, to look into the matter, so that the appeal preferred by the petitioner may be disposed of within a period of three months from the date of filing of the appeal,” the High Court said on May 24, while disposing the petition.

It was clarified by the Court that the petitioner shall file an appeal before the appellate authority within a period of 30 days from the date of order. 

Source: ILNS

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