The Central government has told the Delhi High Court that it has delinked Aarogya Setu app from the website facilitating e-pharmacy operation.
Maninder Acharya, additional solicitor general representing the central government submitted an affidavit in the High Court on May 29, 2020 stating that the website-www.aarogyasetumitr.in stood delinked from the Aarogya Setu mobile application. Anyone accessing the Aarogya Setu app does not get the link of the website anymore, said Acharya.
Acharya filed affidavit in the High Court following a direction from Justice Navin Chawla.
Justice Chawla on May 14, 2020 ordered the Central government to file response on a plea seeking to delink Aarogya Setu app from the website promoting sale of medicines through e-pharmacies.
The plea, filed by South Chemists and Distributors Association, said the website, www.aarogyasetumitr.in, is linked to the official mobile app Aarogya Setu in a highly illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory manner as the website promotes and acts as a marketing tool for e-pharmacies only. E-pharmacies are illegal under the law and continue to operate despite an injunction order passed by the High Court, said the petitioner.
The court, thereafter, enquired as to how the central government can allow listing of the e-pharmacies on a website, once the division bench of the Delhi High Court has injuncted online sale of medicines without license. The court opined that the central government seems to be acting in contravention of the High Court order.
The court also noted the criteria for listing of e-pharmacies on the website-www.aarogyasetumitr.in (which requires a service to 10,000 pin codes in India), and enquired as to whether a pan India license is given for sale or distribution of the medicines.
Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog and advocate Amit Gupta representing South Chemists and Distributors Association submitted that the law does not permit granting of a pan India license. It was submitted that none of the e-pharmacies hold any license for sale, offering for sale, exhibiting or distributing the drugs.
The court was informed that a license to sale, exhibit or distribute any drug is given specific to a premises, from where the pharmacy can operate. The home delivery of medicines has been allowed only to those pharmacists who hold a valid license under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules. The government has not allowed any e-pharmacy to operate and thus, the listing on the website-www.aarogyasetumitr.in is wrong and illegal.
Additional solicitor general, however, stated that she is not in a position to state whether a pan India license is given or not for any of the pharmacies. The court therefore, asked her to take instructions on this point. The court also asked her to respond as to why normal pharmacy stores are not listed on www.aarogyasetumitr.in. The next date of hearing is June 9, 2020.
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