HC relief to docs: Clinics not under Shops & Est Act
Court was hearing a petition against BMC’s criminal prosecution
Bringing relief to doctors running their clinics in the city, the Bombay High Court has ruled that no provisions of the Bombay Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1948, would be applied for running a medical practice.
The bench, comprising Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode, was hearing a petition filed by a doctor from Malabar Hill. The court struck down the provision of the Act as ultra vires (beyond the legal power), and declared it to be inapplicable for medical professionals and their clinics.
The BMC had initiated criminal prosecution against several doctors of the city for failure to get their clinics registered under the Shops and Establishment Act. Many doctors pleaded guilty and paid the fine before the magistrate.
Dr Kavita Tilwani, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, had approached the HC challenging the BMC’s criminal proceedings, allegedly in violation of the Act. She disputed the applicability and constitutional validity of the Act, calling it ‘an abuse of the process of law’.
Tilwani claimed that by running her medical practice, she was not carrying out any sort of business or commercial activity in her clinic, and treating it at par with a business or commerical activity was violating Articles 14 and 19(1) of the Constitution (right to equality and to practise any profession or occupation).