” Competent Authority directed to de-seal and return the Sonography machines form want of proper & Valid order as envisaged under PCPNDT Act provisions”.
The Hon. Bombay High Court in its recently reported judgement of Janki Ultra Sound Centre V/S. Approximately. Authority under PCPNDT act ( 2015 (6) Mh.L.J. 886) W.P.No.1 of 2015 passed the above order.
The factual Matrix is as under : The Petitioner establishment is operated by Dr. Deelip Patil, a registered practitioner and having certificate under PCPNDT Act. In a visit on 13-08-2014, the appropriate authority after inspection of records, seized the machines. This action was impugned before High Court. It was contended that there were no allegations of sex determination also. The Authority contended that, their action is legal and the machine was sealed as the authority has “Reason to believe” that it may furnish evidence of offence under PCPNDT Act and further to prevent repetitive offence.
The Hon. Bombay High Court relying upon earlier division bench judgement of Dr. Prasanna Mishrikotkar v/S. State, W.P. no. 10578/2014, observe that, the Sonography machines can be sealed by the appropriate authority only if it is satisfied that the said machine would furnish evidence of commission of offense punishable under the act. The word “Reason to believe” postulates belief & existence of reason for that belief. That belief has to be held in good faith and not a mere pretence and it must have a rational connection or a relevant bearing to the formation of the belief. In the instant case it was merely mentioned in a single sentence that for violation of provisions of PCPNDT Act by Dr., the machines was sealed.
The Court further relied on earlier observations that competent authority has not given any (Satisfactory) reasons for its action nor did the authority satisfied itself or had reason to believe that Sonography machines would furnish the evidence of commission of offense punishable under the Act. Thus action under Sec. 30 of sealing and seizure is not an empty formality. The authority was directed to de-seal the machines within 3 weeks from date of order. However the liberty of the authority to take appropriate action was kept open. This judgement is another sigh of relief. But the question remains about the loss and mental agony suffered by Drs for such high handed action. The Doctor can sue the authority for damages, but hardly any one would do…. Nobody wants to take enemity…. So this will go on. .
Author : Adv. Rohit Erande. Pune.