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The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a petition by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi seeking to quash an FIR against its medical superintendent for allegedly not following norms pertaining to the collection of COVID-19 test samples.
The Hospital has also challenged the Delhi Government order stopping it from collecting samples from COVID-l9 suspects/patients.
Notice to the Delhi Government was issued by a Single Judge Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar.
Senior Advocate Rupinder Singh Suri appeared on behalf of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (Petitioner) informed the Court that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), from time to time, has been issuing guidelines on testing symptomatic and asymptomatic persons for COVID-19.
On May 6, the Delhi Government issued a Notification instructing all to mandatorily adopt a digital platform called 'RT PCR app' for transmitting and sharing data on the collection of COVID-19 test samples.
The Petitioner conceded that it was unable to transmit information regarding sample collection from May 8 to June 2 through the RT-PCR app as it could not register on the app due to operational constraints.
It was stated that in the meantime, the Petitioner nonetheless continued to send data to ICMR as well as Delhi Government manually through email.
It is the Petitioner's grievance that without even considering its reply to the show-cause notice issued by the Delhi Government for not using the RT PCR app, the FIR was registered under Section 188 IPC at the behest of the Delhi Government.
In its Petition drafted by Advocates Rohit Aggarwal and Gunjan Sinha Jain and filed through Suri & Company, the Petitioner has argued that the registration of the FIR tantamounted to penalizing and threatening the Petitioner for the services rendered by it in these difficult times of COVID-19.
It is contended that the FIR was a patent abuse of process of law, which caused a severe dent to the reputation built by the Petitioner as a premier medical facility since 1954.
The Petitioner has further submitted that initiation of a case for violation of Section 188 IPC could not be done by way of an FIR/police report in view of the bar under Section 195 CrPC.
It is pointed out that no court can take cognizance of any offence punishable under Section 188 IPC except on a written complaint by a public servant, which is absent in the present case.
Urging that such an abuse of the process of law ought to be nipped in the bud, the Petitioner prayed that the FIR be quashed and the Police be restrained from carrying out an investigation.
The Petitioner has also argued that no offence under Section 188 IPC is made out as the FIR contains no averment to show any "disobedience" which caused obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person or caused danger to human life, health etc.
It is also claimed that it was not in dispute that the Petitioner had been sending daily data, as required to be submitted in case of RT PCR app, to the concerned authorities manually and thus, there was no disobedience either in terms of Section 188 IPC.
The Petitioner has called the initiation of criminal proceedings "motivated and malicious" and claimed that it has been sustainably complying with the guidelines issued by ICMR on COVID-19 testing.
While the arguments for grant of an interim relief would continue on June 16, the main matter would be heard next on August 11.