UNION OF INDIA Vs. ASHOK KUMAR SHARMA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
UNION OF INDIA
ASHOK KUMAR SHARMA
Click here to view full judgement.
K.M.JOSEPH, J. -
(1.)What is the interplay between the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as "CrPC" for short) and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act" for short)? Whether in respect of offences falling under chapter IV of the Act, a FIR can be registered under Section 154 of the CrPC and the case investigated or whether Section 32 of the Act supplants the procedure for investigation of offences under CrPC and the taking of cognizance of an offence under Section 190 of the CrPC? Still further, can the Inspector under the Act, arrest a person in connection with an offence under Chapter IV of the Act.
(2.)One Naushad Khan made an online complaint on 22.2. 2018 . The Commissioner (Food Protection and Drugs) directed enquiry and the Drug Inspector, Mau, U.P. along with two others conducted an inspection at the Sharda Narayan Clinic and Pharmacy and the respondent No. 1 was directed to show papers in respect of medicines stored in the shop. The first respondent according to the appellant stated that he did not have any license though he was the owner of the medical store and that he had stored the medicines without proper license. Thereby, he has committed offence under Section 18 and 27 of the Act. On the basis of recovery made, an FIR came to be lodged on 22.6.2018 purporting to be under Section 18 (a) (i) and Section 27 of the Act. The complainant it may be noted is none other than the Drugs Inspector. The respondent filed a writ petition for quashing the FIR and not to arrest him. The appellant, viz. , the Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was not made a party to the writ petition. The respondents in the writ petition were the Superintendent of Police, the Station House Officer and the Drugs Inspector, Mau in his personal capacity. This is apart from the State of U.P. which was made the first respondent. It is pointed out by the appellant that the High Court issued notice seeking presence of the appellant. The High Court by the impugned order had allowed the writ petition and quashed the FIR. In short, the reasoning of the High Court is that under the Act Section 32 must be scrupulously observed and it is the mechanism for prosecuting offences and there is no scope for registration of a FIR under CrPC.
FINDINGS OF THE HIGH COURT
(3.)The High Court referred to Section 32 of the Act and found that only an Inspector, a Gazetted Officer conferred with authority, a person aggrieved or recognized consumer organization is eligible to make a complaint. The court adverted to the other provisions of the Act including Sections 22, 23, 25 and 27 apart from Section 32 and found that the Act clearly lays down a complete code for the trial of offences committed in respect of Drugs and Cosmetics. The Act was a special Act enacted for the trial of offences committed under the Act. No other provision would be applicable as the Act had an overriding effect over all Acts. The provisions of the CrPC would not be applicable except as provided in the Act itself. Since the lodging of an FIR is under Section 154 of the CrPC, the said provision would not be invokable. It further held as follows:
"21. In this Act, the procedure for launching a prosecution has been clearly laid down saying that prosecution under this Act can be initiated only on a complaint made by an authorized Inspector or other authorized persons defined under Section 32, who is supposed to follow the entire procedure as narrated above. By no stretch of imagination could the concerned Inspector have lodged an F.I.R. in this case and authorize the police to make investigation in this case."
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.