SHC bars authorities from harassing dispensers

SHC bars authorities from harassing dispensers

Karachi: After the provincial health authorities have rolled up their sleeves to fight the menace of quacks in the province as many as 50 medical dispensers claiming to provide first-aid in medical emergencies have gone to the Sindh High Court against the authorities for harassing them.

Petitioners - Prem Das, Mevo, Muhammad Ishaque and 47 others through their attorney Prem Das have taken the authorities to the court for raiding their dispensaries and persecuting them under the garb of action against quacks.

When the matter was taken up on Tuesday, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar restrained the authorities from harassing the petitioners.

The court ruled, "In case the authorities intend to take action against any of the petitioners to the extent that such action would be subject to the matter of this petition, then before such action is taken appropriate show-cause notice should be issued to the petitioner concerned and he shall be given an opportunity to defend himself."

It also issued notices to the respondents- Sindh chief secretary and health secretary- to file their respective replies to the petition before the next date.

Advocate Mukesh Kumar Khatri, the counsel for the petitioners, submitted that his client had received certificates for providing first-aid in case of medical emergencies after completing respective courses strictly in accordance with rules.

He recalled that the SHC Hyderabad circuit bench had earlier on November 30, last year, directed the director general health to constitute a special team in every district to take action against quacks and lodge FIRs against them with the help of police.

Mukesh told the judges that district health officers were using this order to harass and humiliate the dispensers. The court orders were being misinterpreted.

He maintained that the petitioners were neither running any sort of clinic nor were they were treating patients. On the contrary, the petitioners were providing first aid in medical emergencies, enabling patients to be taken to medical practitioners.

Moreover, he lamented that the provincial government had completely failed to create job opportunities for the educated youth and thus, the jobless petitioners were using this as mean to earn livelihood for themselves and their families.

Mukesh said that the petitioners were working strictly in accordance with law, but the health officers were illegally, unlawfully and without due course of law harassing them by raiding their dispensaries time and again and blackmailing them.

The counsel pleaded the court to declare that the action against his clients was illegal and without lawful authority. The court was further requested to restrain them from harassing my clients.