Court upholds orders of Gujarat HC and apex court on issue
The Bombay High Court has upheld that laboratory reports can be countersigned only by a medical practitioner with a postgraduate qualification in pathology. The court disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue, relying on an earlier decision by the Supreme Court and Gujarat High Court while upholding the order last week.
The pathologists have hailed the court’s decision and are hopeful that the Maharashtra government starts implementing it. “We have been fighting for this issue for a long time. The government has always sidelined the earlier orders but we hope it will stand by the Bombay High Court’s decision,” said Dr. Prasad Kulkarni from the Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM).
Pathologists have been against people with diplomas in Medical Laboratory Technology signing laboratory reports. According to Dr. Kulkarni, there are nearly 11,000 laboratories in the State, of which nearly 70% are run by technicians.
In 2001, a Nagpur-based pathologist asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to provide clarity on who can sign laboratory reports. While MCI directed the pathologist to earlier cases where police action was taken against those who were signing without recognised qualifications, this led to a series of police cases in Nagpur against unqualified persons running laboratories. In 2005, the MAPPM filed the PIL after the police action stopped. Technicians filed at least three intervention applications in court.
“The issue had been settled by a decision of the Gujarat High Court on September 17, 2010 and the order passed by the Supreme Court on December 12, 2017, as per which the opinion of the Medical Council of India that laboratory reports can be countersigned only by a medical practitioner having post graduate qualification in pathology was found to be correct,” the court said, while disposing of the PIL and other civil applications.
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