The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed PGI authorities to ensure that an “equitable resolution” is found towards waiving off the license fee of a PGI chemist shop, which remained closed due to shutting down of the OPD.
“Mr Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India is directed to ensure that some equitable resolution towards waiving off the license fee of this closed Chemist Shop in PGI, [which remained closed] for no fault of theirs, is positively undertaken before the next date,” the division bench of Justices Jaswant Singh and Sant Parkash said in the order passed Wednesday, while adjourning the case to July 23.
The chemist, Kuldip Singh Pardesi, in the petition filed last month, had invoked force majeure — a clause in contracts to seek reprieve from liability when there is an unforeseen situation, on account of the pandemic and sought a direction that the PGI be asked not to charge the license fee till its OPD starts functioning normally.
The HC on May 15 ordered a status quo with regard to the security deposit as well as performance guarantee of the shop at PGI.
The OPD at PGI had remained shut from March 20 to May 3 and the shop also remained shut, as per the plea. Pardesi deposited Rs 57 lakh last month towards licence fee for the month of March to show his bona fide. Earlier, a show cause notice was issued to him in April regarding non-deposit of Rs 91,21,147 for the month of March.
During the hearing on Thursday, the counsels representing the petitioner argued that PGI authorities are under an obligation to take a policy decision keeping in view the benefits announced by the admin, the MC, or the Government of India to similarly situated licensees in different fields of profession due to Covid-19.
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