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High Court: Human nature’s rebellion against graft sparks hope

Bench dismisses bail plea of a UT Drug Inspector

High Court: Human nature’s rebellion against graft sparks hope

Punjab and Haryana High Court. File photo

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, December 1

Prevalence of paying bribes to overlook deficiencies is not uncommon as higher profit margins often result in increased disposable income. But a glimmer of hope arises as sometimes human nature rebels against corruption, Justice Anoop Chitkara of the Punjab and Haryana High Court asserted, while dismissing the bail plea of a UT Drug Inspector.

The matter was placed before Justice Chitkara after Sunil Chaudhary filed a petition seeking anticipatory bail in a case registered on September 27 under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act at the Vigilance police station in Chandigarh.

Appearing before Justice Chitkara’s Bench, the UT Public Prosecutor contended, among other things, that the Administration had received various complaints against the petitioner for taking bribes. “But because the chemists are afraid of drug inspectors and drug controllers, most of them stay away from filing complaints, and it is rarely a bold person like the complainant who comes forward”.

Referring to human nature to rise up against corruption, Justice Chitkara asserted entrepreneurs, driven by a commitment to public welfare, were willing to jeopardise their businesses. Granting anticipatory bail to the petitioner could potentially embolden corruption within the drugs control department and the medical sector, discouraging those with ethical integrity and undermining the efforts of bold individuals and whistle-blowers committed to the public good.

Justice Chitkara added the petitioner, entrusted with the responsibility to discharge his duties honestly and sincerely, sought a bribe to withdraw notice on deficiencies, rather than insisting on the necessary corrections and closure of non-compliant establishments.

Justice Chitkara also observed that the petitioner occupied the role of a drug inspector –– a pivotal position in the regulatory structure of the healthcare system. The position entailed not just ensuring adherence to established regulations and standards in the production and distribution of drugs, but also involved vigilant market monitoring, detection of counterfeit drugs and implementing measures to guarantee efficacy, quality and public safety.

Highlighting the significance of the post, Justice Chitkara asserted the ground reality was that only well-established pharmaceutical companies, adhering to international standards and ethical manufacturing practices, maintained commendable reputation and quality.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of companies deviated from expected manufacturing standards, producing substandard drugs containing harmful substances. They also engaged in the practice of printing a maximum retail price several times higher than the cost price and the wholesale price, creating lucrative incentive for unscrupulous individuals and organisations in the medical field to prescribe and promote such medicines.

Justice Chitkara added individuals were appointed to positions such as drug inspectors and controllers, incurring significant expenses from the public treasury, to curb and cap these unfair excessive profit margins, and counter such activities.

“The prosecution has gathered sufficient prima facie evidence involving the petitioner and custodial interrogation is required to get further evidence about illicit conspiracy between the petitioner and the co-accused and also to unearth the role of any other persons which may have been involved. An analysis of the allegations and evidence collected does not warrant the grant of bail to the petitioner,” Justice Chitkara concluded.

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