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It’s not an offense under the PCPNDT Act, if the computer generated reports are signed by the owner of the Hospital and not by the concerned Sonologist/ Radiologist – Hon. Bombay High Court

It’s not an offense under the PCPNDT Act, if the computer generated reports are signed by the owner of the Hospital and not by the concerned Sonologist/ Radiologist – Hon. Bombay High Court

While quashing the Criminal Action under PCPNDT Act against Doctors and ordering the de-sealing of machines, it was observed, “It’s not an offense under the PCPNDT Act, if the computer generated reports are signed by the owner of the Hospital and not by the concerned Sonologist/ Radiologist”” – Hon. Bombay High Court ”

The Court can take cognizance of complaint under PCPNDT Act, only if it is filed by the duly appointed AA” The Hon. Bombay High Court ( Justice Smt. Anuja Prabhudesai) in its recent judgment in the case of Dr. Rajender Sujanyal & Dr. Shripad Inamdar V/s. State of Maharashtra, (W.P. No.4310/2015, Criminal), has given huge relief to Doctors against the highanded action of AA.

Facts :

1. This case is from PCMC, Pune. The Petitioner No.1 is the Gynaecologist runs a “Stree Hospital”, with licensed Ultrasound sonography machines. Petitioner No.2 is the visiting qualified radiologist / sonologist in the said Hospital.

2. The Commissioner of PCMC, who is otherwise, AA, delegated his powers of Inspection, Search, Seizures and sealing of record and machines etc. under PCPNDT Act to one Dr. Gophane & other Medical Officers.

3. On 21.6.2012, Dr. Gophane inspected the sonography center of PEtitioner No.1. In there report it was mentioned that there were no violations of PCPNDT Provisions, all the records were properly maintained. Only objection which was raised was Case card signed by Hospital owner not by sonologist.

4. Thereafter Dr. Gofane and the respondent No.3, Dr. Anandrao Jagdale, visited Stree Hospital on 17th July, 2012. & sealed the ultrasound machine. They gave show cause notice to which the doctors gave proper reply, but same was not considered and subsequently criminal complaints were filed. As the Doctors did not get any reliefs in Trial Court, they approached the high Court.

Held :

1. After hearing of the parties on merits and considering the laws and facts of the case, her Ladyship allowed the Petition of the doctors.

2. It was observed that AA is appointed by due notification either by State Govt. or Central Govt. and upheld the contention that in present case the Respondent No.3 was not AA , as not appointed so and thus he had no authority in law to take any action against Doctors. It was also proved that the Res. no.3 was not even a Medical Director as alleged.

3. It also upheld the contentions of the Petitioners that there were no discrepancies in maintaining record. Rather the Report of Dr. Gopahne was also in fact in favour of the Doctors.

4. The Hon. Court also accepted the contentions raised by the Petitioners that that the hand written sonography reports are signed by the Petitioner No.2 Sonologist and that the contents of the hand written report are subsequently entered in the computer and for the sake of convenience, the computer generated printouts are signed by the Petitioner No.1, the owner of the Hospital. It further observed that signing of report by the owner of the Hospital and not by the sonologist does not amount to breach of any ofthe provisions of PCPNDT Act.

5. the Hon. Court also cautioned the AA about causal approach in sealing of Machines and held that the object of the Act can only be achieved when the powers under the Act are exercised judiciously, with due application of mind and in accordance with law. it relied on the another Division Bench Judgment of Bombay High Court, in the case of Dr. Sai Shiradkar V/s. State of Maharashtra,( Criminal Writ Petition No.1381 of 2015), wherein it was observed that, “…..Mistakes committed without any criminal intent and merely in the nature of procedural lapses needs to be properly understood before taking drastic action of initiating criminal prosecution against a person in the field of Medical profession”

6. Ultimately , it quashed the criminal proceedings against the Doctors and ordered Respondents to de-seal the machines forthwith. This judgment is based on the basic legal principle that, ” If a thing is required to be done in a particular way, then it has to be done in that way only, otherwise nothing is to be done”. Those doctors who are real culprits under PCPNDT Act or those people who do sex determination, must be punished and have been punished.

However, by doing so all the Doctors and cases should not be judged by same scale. If Such illegal action is not stopped, such Halter round the neck of doctors will make them fearful and apprehensive of taking professional decisions and ultimately it will be the losso the society” These words of Hon. Apex Court should not become true.

It’s not an offense under the PCPNDT Act, if the computer generated reports are signed by the owner of the Hospital and not by the concerned Sonologist/ Radiologist – Hon. Bombay High Court

An article by Adv. Rohit Erande Pune.

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