SC quashes order for detention of doctor in fake Remdesivir injection case

05:43 PM Oct 29, 2021 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday quashed the order for detention of a Jabalpur doctor accused of procuring fake Remdesivir injection during the second wave of COVID-19, saying the state government delayed decision on his representation and failed to communicate the outcome.


A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud referred to Article 22 (Protection against arrest and detention) of the Constitution and said preventive detention in independent India is to be exercised with utmost regard to Constitutional safeguards.

The top court invalidated the order of detention on two grounds — the unexplained delay on part of the Madhya Pradesh government in deciding the representation of the appellant and the failure of the central and state governments to communicate the rejection of the representation to the appellant in a timely manner.

The apex court set aside the order of the High Court and quashed the detention orders.

“The delay by the State Government in disposing of the representation and by the Central and State Government in communicating such rejection, strikes at the heart of the procedural rights and guarantees granted to the detenu. It is necessary to understand that the law provides for such procedural safeguards to balance the wide powers granted to the executive under the NSA.


“The State Government cannot expect this Court to uphold its powers of subjective satisfaction to detain a person, while violating the procedural guarantees of the detenu that are fundamental to the laws of preventive detention enshrined in the Constitution,” the bench also comprising Justices Vikram Nath and B V Nagarathna said.

The apex court said there is absolutely no material coming forthwith to indicate that the rejection of the representation by the central government was communicated to the detenu.

The bench said that in spite of awaiting the receipt of the report of the Advisory Board which was eventually issued on June 15, 2021, the State Government took another one month in arriving at a decision on the appellant’s representation dated May 18, 2021.

“The communication of the grounds is in aid of facilitating the right of the detenu to submit a representation against the order of detention. In the absence of the grounds being communicated, the detenu would be left in the dark in regard to the reasons which have led to the order of detention,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra and advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, appearing for the petitioner, had submitted that the state government did not furnish a reply to the Mokha’s representation. They also said that extension of the appellant’s detention under the NSA for alleged black-marketing of Remdesivir is illegal.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the Director of City Hospital, Jabalpur, Sarabjeet Singh Mokha, challenging August 24, 2021 order of Madhya Pradesh High Court which rejected his petition under Article 226 of the Constitution against a detention order passed against him under Section 3(2) of National Security Act.

The allegation against the Mokha is that in connivance with certain others, he procured fake Remdesivir injections which were administered to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to make illegal profits thereby endangering the life of the general public.

The stringent National Security Act (NSA) was invoked against four persons, including a director of a private hospital in Jabalpur, in separate cases related to Remdesivir, in high demand during the pandemic.

The cases relate to sale of fake Remdesivir injections and black-marketing of the anti-viral drug in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Under the NSA, one can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if the authorities are satisfied that the person is a threat to national security or law and order.

During investigation, it was revealed that about 500 fake Remdesivir injections were procured from Indore and sent to Jabalpur by road.

According to the police, these injections were made by an inter-state gang operating from Gujarat and they were allegedly administered to three patients in Indore following which they died.


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