The apex court also pulled up the union government for dilly-dallying on the issue of price fixation for the last 10 years
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine the new national pharmaceutical pricing policy framed by the Indian government for fixing prices of essential medicines in the country.
A Bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi asked the Centre to file its response on a petition challenging the policy and raised questions on prices of medicines fixed by the Government.
After going through data provided by the petitioner in the public interest litigation (PIL), the Bench said, “Margin of profit for manufacturers and dealers has become 10% to 1,300% of the cost of manufacture of the drug.”
The Bench also pulled up the Centre for dilly-dallying on the issue of price fixation for the last 10 years and saying that nothing has been done by the Centre despite various committees including parliamentary committee deliberating on the issue.
The assessment was done by the petitioner after analysing the market price, price fixed by the Government and the cost of production of drug.
While hearing another case, the court had earlier also slammed the Government for not controlling the price of such drugs during the last 18 years.
The court had made it clear to the Centre that it should not form a pharmaceutical policy, which may cause increase in the price of essential drugs.
The court had said drugs prescribed by the doctors were going beyond the reach of common man and “any formula for price fixation which goes against common man should be quashed“.
The Bench had pulled up the Government for not taking any decision on bringing more drugs under the price control after 1999 and during the pendency of case before it for the last 10 years.
Rajan, a gold medallist from IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, will replace D subbarao as governor of the RBI next month
Dr Raghuram Rajan, the chief economic advisor of finance ministry, is appointed as next governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He will take over from Duvvuri Subbaro, whose term ends on 4th September.
In a statement, the finance ministry said, "The Prime Minister has approved the appointment of Dr Raghuram Rajan as the Governor of RBI for a term of three years".
Last year, Rajan was appointed as the chief economic advisor to the finance ministry. He has formerly worked as the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The immediate challenges before Rajan would be to stabilise the rupee volatility, changing interest rate scenario amid weaker GDP growth, high inflation levels and high vulnerabilities of the external environment.
Rajan is taking over as RBI chief at a time when the Indian rupee has fallen over 12% per cent since January this year.
A young woman, a very young woman, enters her car with two women friends. They had just attended a seminar on sexual assault survival and it was late evening. Suddenly, they are accosted by six men and a woman. One man gets on the bonnet of the car. Another man draws a gun.
The windows are rolled up. She cannot hear what the accosters are saying. To roll down the windows, she must start the car. Which she does. The outsiders, fearing the car will escape, try to smash the windows.
What should she do? Well, most must have guessed correctly. She drove off. In the melee, one of the accosters got hurt. She headed for the police-station. In the meantime, using her presence of mind, one of the girls phones the cops. Soon, they see the flashing lights of the police car and, thankful, they stop.
They are arrested. Why?
The ‘six plus one’ were actually the police in civvies. They were trying to apprehend drunk drivers and juvenile drinkers. They thought the youngster may have been in possession of hard liquor, hence, the Rambo treatment—seven against three, gun, bonnet dance, chase, the works.
Now you be the judge.
What would you have done? Meekly submitted, hands held high? Be assaulted, or molested, or worse? Or made a run for it, circumstances permitting? There appears no option.
First, let us get the facts. Police in mufti at night. Non-identifiable badges. Young women were aware of attacks and such instances were fresh in their mind. The cops not able to convey their identity clearly enough; the windows were rolled up. The girls think it is an attack. The cops think they are doing their duty. The girls think of flight through fright. The police think flight was to evade arrest.
It might seem like a comedy of errors but the police in America are armed and are known to shoot first and ask questions later. Suppose they had fired and killed someone or all the three girls? Who would you say was in the right?
Fortunately, no one was hurt. The cop was only slightly brushed against. The young girl had nothing more potent on her than a bottle of water. Her friend had called the police using her cell-phone. They had stopped on recognising the flashing lights on the police car. All they did was run away from the police (which they did not know) and called the cops to help. The girls were arrested for trying to escape, that is, evading arrest.
The public prosecutor refused to press charges against the girls. He was right in doing that. The police need to identify themselves; otherwise, how does one distinguish the cops from the robbers?
Yet, there is an unanswered question. What is the best recourse, when one is caught in such a situation? And what should the police do, to avoid such an incident?
Maybe start by reducing the number of cops on any one beat. Does one need seven people to check on drunk drivers? And that too armed? In India, more than five people in a heist are termed dacoits. If the police had been found guilty of injury, they would have been in serious trouble. Why not train and sensitise the force? Make them attend sessions on the need and merits of making arrests. Publicise such real-life incidents to avoid recurrences. Maybe even have, or raise, the minimum IQ requirements for delicate work.
Anyway, thank God! All’s well that ends well... Until the next screw-up.
Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to [email protected] or [email protected]