Citing want of material evidence, the Bench says orders can’t be passed on the basis of newspaper reports

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, declined to entertain a public interest writ petition seeking a probe against Ranbaxy Laboratories for allegedly manufacturing and selling substandard medicines in the domestic market for want of materials.

A vacation Bench of Justices A. K. Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi made it clear to the petitioner advocate M. L. Sharma that the court could not pass orders on the basis of newspaper reports in the absence of materials to show that the drugs manufactured by Ranbaxy were harmful to the public.

Justice Patnaik observed “we are here to protect and enforce the fundamental rights if there is any breach. We can’t entertain a petition for publicity in the absence of materials.” The Bench, however, allowed the petitioner to file a fresh petition if he found some evidence against the company in support of his allegation that it was engaged in manufacturing and selling substandard drugs. The Bench said it could not decide the plea against the company on the basis of a U.S. court judgment against Ranbaxy.

Justice Patnaik said: “Your entire argument is based on the proceedings in the U.S. We have no jurisdiction over it. Show us material that things are happening in India and they adversely affects right to life of people here. What are the drugs produced by Ranbaxy that are found to be harmful… you produce evidence… we will consider your case. Where is the material against Ranbaxy? No material has been placed to show that drugs manufactured by any unit of Ranbaxy are substandard, adulterated, spurious or misbranded and that such drugs are prohibited under the law. In the absence of such material, we cannot entertain this petition.”

The PIL, comes in the wake of the pharma major being fined $500 million by the USFDA for making and selling “adulterated” drugs.

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