The Delhi High Court has pulled up the office of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for claiming that it did not have the complete report of the Mohapatra Committee, which was constituted in 2013 for investigating approvals granted to certain drugs.
After questioning the misplacement of annexures of the report, the court mentioned that it was a "shocking matter" and that it will hold the entire office of DCGI responsible for it.
The bench was hearing a case filed by a lawyer alleging suppression of the report that pointed out "shocking lapses" by the DCGI in approvals granted to new drugs.
Last year, lawyer Prashant Reddy T had approached the court seeking a complete report of the Mohapatra Committee and digitisation of records of DCGI related to clinical trials.
Reddy had approached the Central Information Commission earlier in 2018 but he could only get the report without annexures. In his argument, he stated that a purported report was shared but it was undated, unsigned and did not have the annexures.
The court was also displeased to say that DCGI had not filed a reply to Reddy's plea to date despite issuing a notice in the matter in September last year
Justice Prathiba M Singh asked the DCGI to update the court about the steps taken for streamlining and digitisation of its records. She also directed members of the committee to remain present in order to assist the court on the next date of hearing.
A Central government counsel, representing the DCGI, informed the court that the reply was filed in February. However, the court said that it was not on record
"It is not a laughing matter. It is a serious issue," said the single-member bench.
The court also directed that the reply would be taken on record only on deposit of the cost of ₹10,000.
It further added that the amount would be in addition to the cost of ₹15,000 imposed on DCGI earlier in December last year.
Justice Singh mentioned that if the total costs of ₹25,000 were not deposited and the reply was not on the record before the next date of hearing in March, the DCGI would depute a senior official to be present in the court.
The court also directed DCGI to file a status report with regard to the steps taken by it to digitise its records, saying "there is no reason why DCGI should not digitise its records".
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