YOGESH NATHABHAI CHAUHAN….Petitioner(s) Versus STATE OF GUJARAT  &  2….Respondent(s)

C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD SPECIAL CIVIL APPLICATION NO.12881 of 2009 For Approval and Signature: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE R.M.CHHAYA Sd/­ ===================================================== 1 Whether Reporters of Local Papers may be allowed to see the judgment ? NO 2 To be referred to the Reporter or not ? NO 3 Whether  their Lordships  wish to see the fair copy of the judgment ? NO 4 Whether this case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution of India, 1950 or any order made thereunder ? NO 5 Whether   it   is   to   be   circulated   to   the civil judge ? NO =================================================== YOGESH NATHABHAI CHAUHAN….Petitioner(s) Versus STATE OF GUJARAT  &  2….Respondent(s) =================================================== Appearance: MR AD OZA, with MR RAJESH K KANANI, ADVOCATES for the Petitioner(s) No. 1 MR PP BANAJI, AGP for the Respondent(s) No.1 & 3 MR NIKHILESH J SHAH, ADVOCATE for Respondent No.2 =================================================== CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE R.M.CHHAYA  Date : 09/04/2014   ORAL JUDGMENT (1) By way of this petition under Article 226 of the   Constitution   of   India,   the   petitioner has challenged order dated 04.08.2009 passed by   respondent   No.2­District   Appropriate Authority as well as order in appeal dated 24.09.2009   passed   by  respondent   No.3­State Appropriate Authority. Page 1 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT (2) The facts which can be culled out from the record   of   the   petition   are   that   the petitioner,   a   medical   practitioner,   is having a clinic, namely, Chiranjivi Hospital and   Sonography   Clinic   at   Shihor,   Dist. Bhavnagar   and   got   registered   his   clinic   as well   as   his   sonography   machine   under   the Pre­conception   and   Pre­natal   Diagnostic Techniques   (Prohibition   of   Sex   Selection) Act, 1994 (for short ‘the Act’) in the year 2006,   certificate   of   which   is   annexed   with the   present   petition.   It   is   a   matter   of record   that   on   16.01.2009   the   District Appropriate   Authority   decided   to   carry   out surprise   check   at   various   clinics   and accordingly the clinic of the petitioner was checked. It appears that the main reason for such   surprise   check   was   increase   of   male birth   ratio.   Record   shows   that   panchnama came   to   be   prepared   and   the   sonography machine of the petitioner came to be sealed. The   said   proceedings   were   followed   by   show cause   notice   dated   17.01.2009,   which indicates   that   there   was   breach   of   Rules 17(1),   17(2),   9(1),   9(4),   10,   9(8)   of   the Pre­conception   and   Pre­natal   Diagnostic Techniques   (Prohibition   of   Sex   Selection) Rules, 1996 (for short ‘the Rules’). It is also provided in the show cause notice that Page 2 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT under sub­section (3) of Section 20 of the Act,   appropriate   authority   suspended   the registration   of   the   petitioner   with immediate   effect.   It   further   appears   that the petitioner immediately gave reply to the show   cause   notice  by  communication   dated 19.01.2009.   Record   further   indicates   that thereafter special meeting of PNDT Advisory Committee, Bhavnagar, was held on 20.01.2009 wherein   cases   of   four   doctors,   including that of the  petitioner,  were considered and the   committee   advised   that   a   criminal complaint   be   filed   against   the  petitioner. It is also a matter of record that the said order   was   challenged   by   the  petitioner  by way   of   filing   an   appeal   as   provided   under Section   21   of   the   Act,   which   came   to   be registered   as   Appeal   No.2   of   2009.   The appellate   authority   disposed   of   the   said appeal on the ground that final order is yet to be passed and while disposing of the said appeal   directed   District   Appropriate Authority,   Bhavnagar   to   consider   the   reply filed   by   the  petitioner  and   to   take   final decision under Section 20(2) of the Act. It appears   that   after   the   appeal   came   to   be disposed   of,   the   appropriate   authority   by order   dated   19.05.2009   passed   an   order whereby the registration of the petitioner’s Page 3 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT clinic   was   cancelled   in   exercise   of   powers under   Section   17(4)(a)   of   the   Act.   It further appears that the petitioner filed an appeal   against   the   aforesaid   order,   which came   to   be   partly   allowed   by   order   dated 08.06.2009   by   the   appellate   authority wherein following observations are made: “In   view   of   the   foregoing   reasons,   the   appeal filed by the appellant is partly allowed to that extent only. The Appropriate Authority, Bhavnagar is   directed   to   place   the   matter   before   the Advisory Committee for its advice and then pass the order as it deems fit under section 20(2) of the Act within a period of thirty days from the receipt of this order.” (3) After   the   proceedings   came   to   be   referred back   to   the   appropriate   authority,   as aforesaid,   it   passed   the   impugned   order dated   04.08.2009   relying   upon   the   earlier order   dated   19.05.2009   of   the   Appropriate Authority, the State Appropriate Authority’s order in appeal dated 08.06.2009, the office note of Advisory Committee, Bhavnagar dated 31.07.2009 and the letter of Chairman of the Advisory   Committee,   Bhavnagar   dated 31.07.2009.   Being   aggrieved   by   the   said order,   the   petitioner   approached   the appellate authority under Section 21 of the Act   by   filing   an   appeal,   which   came   to   be registered   as   Appeal   No.6   of   2009,   which Page 4 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT came   to   be   dismissed   vide   order   dated 24.09.2009. Hence, the present petition. (4) It   may   be   noted   that   this   Court   on 04.02.2010 passed the following order in the present petition: “RULE returnable in the last week of April 2010.  It is pointed out that in identical matters the concerned   authority   has   taken   a   contrary   view. Further,   since   the   sonography   machine   has   been sealed   since   last   one   year,   and   since   the registration has also been canceled, it will not be appropriate to continue the same. This penalty seems to be beyond the maximum permissible penalty under   the   law.   In   that  view   of   the   matter,   the impugned   orders   passed   by   the   authority   are ordered   to   be   kept   in   abeyance   till   the   final outcome   of   this   petition.   Direct   service   is permitted.” (5) It   is   a   matter   of   record   that   the respondents   authorities   herein   filed   an inter­court   appeal   being  Letters   Patent Appeal   No.1214   of   2010   wherein   while allowing the appeal, the following order is passed by the Division Bench of this Court: “This   appeal   has   been   preferred   against   the interim   order   dated   4.2.2010   passed   by   the learned Single Judge in SCA No. 12881 of 2009, which reads as follows:­ RULE  returnable  in   the   last   week  
of   April 2010.  It is pointed out that in identical matters the concerned authority has taken a contrary Page 5 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT view. Further, since the sonography machine has   been   sealed   since   last   one   year,   and since   the   registration   has   also   been canceled,   it   will   not   be   appropriate   to continue the same. This penalty seems to be beyond the maximum permissible penalty under the   law.   In   that   view   of   the   matter,   the impugned orders passed by the authority are ordered   to   be   kept   in   abeyance   till   the final   outcome   of   this   petition.   Direct service is permitted.” The   case   was   taken   up   on   20.5.2010,   when   this Court passed ad­interim order of stay against the said order. In the light of the interim order, as no stay is now operating in the SCA and in spite of notice issued to the concerned respondent writ petitioner, the said respondent did not choose to appear and oppose the prayer, we are of the view that SCA No. 12881/09 be heard on merits without any interim order. For   the   reason   aforesaid,   interim   order   dated 4.2.2010, as clarified by order dated 13.5.2010 both   are   set   aside.   SCA   No.   12881   of   2009   be placed   before   the   learned   Single   Judge immediately for decision on merits. Both Appeal and Civil Application stand disposed of.” (6) Heard   Mr.Arun   D.   Oza,   with   Mr.Rajesh   K. Kanani,   learned   advocates   for   the petitioner, Mr.P.P.Banaji,  learned Assistant Government Pleader for respondent  Nos.1 and 3, and Mr.Nikilesh J. Shah, learned advocate for respondent No.2. (7) Learned   advocate   for   the   petitioner   has taken this Court through the factual matrix arising out of this petition and has raised various   contentions,   including   the Page 6 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT contention   that   the   petitioner   has   been arbitrarily singled out in as much as that in   case   of   similarly   situated   doctors   and even in cases where breach is more serious, a   lenient   view   has   been   taken   by   the   same authority.   It   is   further   contended   that   as such   the   order   dated   08.06.2009   is   not properly   adhered   to   by   the   appropriate authority   while   passing   the   impugned   order dated 04.08.2009 and has mechanically passed a   similar   order.   It   is   further   submitted that as such no advise for cancellation of the   registration   was   ever   given   by   the advisory   committee   and   therefore   the impugned orders are bad and illegal.  (8) Learned   advocate   for   the   petitioner   also invited attention of this Court to the reply to   the   show   cause   notice   given   by   other doctors   and   has   further   submitted   that   the same   authority   has   considered   such   reply, which   only   says   that   from   now   onwards   no mistakes   or   breach   of   any   rule   shall   be committed,   which   is   accepted   by   the   same authority, whereas a different view is taken in case of the  petitioner. Learned advocate for   the   petitioner   further   expressing   the anguish   has   submitted   that   since   2009 Page 7 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT sonography   machine   of   the   petitioner   is sealed and considering the reply of the show cause   notice  dated   17.01.2009   it   clearly indicates   that   the   reply   given   by   the petitioner  are self­sufficient and the same should have been taken into consideration.  (9) Learned   advocate   for   the   petitioner   has further contended that as such in the facts and   circumstances   of   this   case   as   the petitioner  is   not   undertaking   any investigation by invasive techniques and he has   been   registered   only   for   ultra­sound, the  petitioner  is   not   supposed   to   fill­up Form­G as per Rule 10 of the Rules. Learned advocate   for   the   petitioner   relying   upon Rule 12 of the Rules contended that seal and seizure can be effected if there is reason to believe that it may furnish evidence of commission   of   an   offence   punishable   under the Act. (10) During course of hearing, on inquiry, it is found   that   the   impugned   order   dated 04.08.2009   is   passed  without  any   notice   or hearing.   Learned   advocate   for   respondent No.2   has   candidly,  on   the   basis   of  the original   record,   submitted   that   no   hearing is   given   to   the  petitioner.   As   provided under sub­section (2) of Section 20 of the Page 8 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT Act,   the   appropriate   authority   has   to   give reasonable opportunity of being heard to the Genetic   Counselling   Centre,   Genetic Laboratory   or   Genetic   Clinic,   which   is admittedly   not   given   to   the  petitioner. Taking   into   consideration   the   aforesaid facts, it is therefore not necessary to deal with   the   other   contentions   raised   by   the petitioner, the same are kept open. In light of the aforesaid admitted position therefore the   impugned   order   dated   04.08.2009   is arbitrary and deserves to be quashed and set aside on the short ground of non­observance of principles of natural justice. Similarly though the said order is confirmed in Appeal No.6 of 2009 by order dated 24.09.2009, both the orders impugned herein dated 04.08.2009 as   well   as   dated   24.09.2009   deserve   to   be quashed   and   set   aside.   Respondent   No.2   is hereby   directed   to   hear   the  petitioner, taking into consideration the material which is already placed before it and after giving an   opportunity   of   personal   hearing   to   the petitioner  and permitting the  petitioner  to adduce further explanation and/or documents. Considering   the   fact   that   the   issue   is   of 2009,   respondent   No.2   shall   carry   out   such an   exercise   within   04   (four)   weeks   from today i.e. on or before 09.05.2014.  Page 9 of 10 C/SCA/12881/2009 JUDGMENT (11) It may further be clarified that the present petition   is   allowed   only   on   the   aforesaid sole   ground,   even   though   the  petitioner  as well   as   respondent   No.2   has   raised   various contentions,   in   view   of   the   aforesaid factual   position,   this   Court   has   not   dealt with   other   contentions   that   are   raised   by the   learned   advocate   for   the   respective parties.   Respondent   No.2   authority   shall decide   the   issue  de   novo,  without  in   any manner   influenced   by   any   of   the   earlier orders as well as the present judgment, only in   accordance   with   law,   after   giving   an opportunity   of   being   heard   to   the petitioner, strictly on merits. It would be open   for   the   petitioner  to   take   all contentions   available   to   him   before respondent No.2 authority. (12) Consequently,   the   petition   is   allowed. Impugned orders dated 04.08.2009 as well as dated   24.09.2009   are   hereby   quashed. However,   the   position   as   existed   on 17.01.2009   shall   continue   till   final   order is passed by respondent No.2. Rule is made absolute   to   the   aforesaid   extent.  There shall be no order as to costs. Sd/­        [R.M.CHHAYA, J ] Bhavesh[pps]*  Page
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