Advocate Sushila
Advocate Sushila Ram 30 Oct 2021


A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices, Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and B V Nagarathna passed a Judgment dated 29-10-2021 in Sarabjeet Singh Mokha vs The District Magistrate, Jabalpur & Ors., wherein the Apex Court discussed the provisions of preventive detention and protections to undertrials and detainees in India.

In this case, an FIR bearing No. 252/2021 was registered at Omti Police Station, Jabalpur on 10-05-2021 against Dr. Sarabjeet Singh Mokha, Director of City Hospital, Jabalpur (Appellant herein) for conniving with others in procuring 500 fake Remdesivir injections from Indore worth Rs. 15 Lakhs and administering the same to 50 patients at the City Hospital on 30-04-2021, in order to make illegal profits, thereby endangering the lives of the patients.

The FIR was registered under the following provisions of law:

  1. Section 274 of the India Penal Code 1860 (IPC) (Adulteration of drugs),
  2. Section 275 IPC (Sale of adulterated drugs),
  3. Section 308 IPC (Attempt to commit culpable homicide),
  4. Section 420 IPC (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property)
  5. Section 120B IPC (Punishment of criminal conspiracy);
  6. Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 (Penalty); and
  7. Section 53 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 (Punishment for misappropriation of money or materials, etc).

On 11-05-2021, the Superintendent of Police made a request to the District Magistrate seeking permission to take action against the Appellant under the National Security Act 1980 (NSA). The District Magistrate passed an Order dated 11-05-2021 under Section 3 (2) of NSA, thereby detaining the Appellant for a period of three months (Detention Order) on various grounds including (i) administering spurious Remdesivir injections to patients which resulted in their untimely deaths, (ii) use of fake bills to procure spurious Remdesivir injections, (iii) cheating patients for administering fake essential drugs, etc.

The Appellant was then detained on 12-05-2021 in pursuance of the Detention Order. Thereafter, on 13-05-2021, the Government of Madhya Pradesh approved the Detention Order and also submitted a Report to the Government of India in that regard.

The relevant provisions of NSA applicable in this case are reproduced below:

3.Power to make orders detaining certain persons.—

(2) The Central Government or the State Government may, if satisfied with respect to any person that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that such person be detained.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community” does not include “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies of commodities essential to the community” as defined in the Explanation to sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Prevention of Black marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 (7 of 1980), and accordingly, no order of detention shall be made under this Act on any ground on which an order of detention may be made under that Act.

(4) When any order is made under this section by an officer mentioned in sub-section (3), he shall forthwith report the fact to the State Government to which he is subordinate together with the grounds on which the order has been made and such other particulars as, in his opinion, have a bearing on the matter, and no such order shall remain in force for more than twelve days after the making thereof unless, in the meantime, it has been approved by the State Government:  

Provided that where under section 8 the grounds of detention are communicated by the officer making the order after five days but not later than fifteen days from the date of detention, this sub-section shall apply subject to the modification that, for the words “twelve days”, the words “twenty days” shall be substituted.

To read more, please visit the link below:

#supremecourt #preventivedetention #detention #undertrial #covid #remdesivir #fake

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