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SC Reduces Jail Term Awarded To Medical Shop Owner As He Wasn’t Aware That He Has To Obtain Drug Licence [Read Order]

livelaw.in 2018-12-04 14:15:48

“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, in our considered view, in the interest of justice proviso to Section 27(b)(ii) of the Act can be invoked and the sentence of imprisonment of one year imposed upon the respondent is reduced to three months.”

The Supreme Court has reduced the sentence of one-year imprisonment to three months to a medical shop owner who stored certain drugs without a valid drug licence taking into account his plea that he was not aware that he has to obtain such a licence for sale of drugs.

The bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee restored the conviction of an accused under Sections 27(b)(ii) and 28 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, by setting aside the high court judgment that had set it aside.

Under Section 18(c) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, the licence is required for sale of any drug. Under Section 18(c) of the Act, stocking or storing of drugs for sale cannot be done without a licence. The accused was charged for having stored drugs for sale without a licence.

The bench observed that as the accused had stocked the drugs and was selling the same without a licence, there was a violation of Section 18(c) of the Act which is punishable under Section 27(b)(ii) of the Act. It also noted that the accused had admitted the contraventions by stating that he was not aware of the procedure to obtain the licence and had apologised for the mistake and requested to issue the licence.

Taking this into account, the bench said: “Insofar as the sentence of imprisonment, the offence under Section 18(c) of the Act punishable under Section 27(b)(ii) of the Act which prescribes minimum sentence of imprisonment for one year and minimum fine of rupees five thousand. As per proviso to Section 27(b)(ii) of the Act, for any adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the judgment, court may impose the sentence of imprisonment for a term less than one year and a fine of less than five thousand only. In this case, the offence was committed in the year 2008, about ten years back. The respondent was not having any prior conviction under the Act. As pointed out earlier, in his statement, respondent had stated that he was not aware that he has to obtain a licence for sale of drugs. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, in our considered view, in the interest of justice proviso to Section 27(b)(ii) of the Act can be invoked and the sentence of imprisonment of one year imposed upon the respondent is reduced to three months.”

Read the Order Here