Decide on chemists’ grievances, High Court tells PGIMER, GMCH-32 heads

Decide on chemists’ grievances, High Court tells PGIMER, GMCH-32 heads

Photo for representation purpose only.

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 15

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the PGI Director and the Director-Principal of the GMCH, Sector 32, to take into consideration waiver and other benefits before arriving at a “conscious decision” regarding the grievances of chemists on the campuses financially affected by the lockdown.

The Director and the Director-Principal were directed by the Bench of Justice Daya Chaudhary and Justice Meenakshi I Mehta to take into consideration the precedents, where the benefit of waiving off the licence fee was granted, contract was extended or any other benefit was given. They were further asked to consider the observations made by the High Court. For the purpose of completing the entire exercise, the Bench set a deadline of 10 days from receiving representations by the chemists.

Taking up more than 25 petitions on the issue, the Bench also asked the petitioner-chemists to make representations to the Director and the Director-Principal within two days of receiving the order’s copy.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Chaudhary asserted it was undisputedly an unexpected event, following which a complete lockdown was imposed from March 20 to May 3. There was, in fact, complete restriction on travelling from one place to other. OPD blocks of the hospitals, too, remained closed during the period.

“The licence deed between the parties was terminated on the ground of non-payment of lease amount and some of the licensees have vacated their shops due to frustration. It is also not disputed that the Director, PGI, is the competent authority to take appropriate decision, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the cases as well as by considering the decision taken by other state governments/authorities/ university/Central Ministry, etc., as have been pointed out by the counsel for the petitioners,” Justice Chaudhary added.

Referring to the petitions, Justice Chaudhary further added some of the petitioner-chemists were allotted chemist shops in the PGI, while some others were allotted in the GMCH-32.

Justice Chaudhary added the shops were leased out on certain terms and conditions. As per the averments made in the petitions, the petitioners were paying monthly instalments within the prescribed period. But they were not in a position to open their shops either due to complete or partial lockdown.

It was also their grievance that there was either nil sale or it was at its lowest due to fall in the number of patients/attendants. The petitioners were not getting return, but had to pay instalments “of huge amount”. It resulted in delay in payment of instalments.

Justice Chaudhary noted it was also their grievance that the petitioners were asked to pay monthly licence fee for the lockdown period, even when the OPD blocks of the hospitals/ institutes remained closed.

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