New Delhi: Resting the case on the issue of who can sign laboratory reports, a recent supreme court judgement has clearly enunciated that a Laboratory Report can be counter signed only by a registered medical practitioner with a post graduate qualification in pathology.
The decision was pronounced on the 12th December, 2017 in the matter of North Gujarat Unit of Association of Self Employed Owners (Paramedical) of Private Pathology Laboratories of Gujarat versus North Gujarat Pathologists Association. The main contention of the petition was concerning the qualifications required for signing the pathology reports and running of path-labs, an issue much debated through various court cases in the country.
The petitioners, in this case included members of the Association who are paramedics possessing qualification of Bachelorette of Science or Bachelorette or Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technician (Pathology). The petitioners, through the said association, challenged the judgement given by Gujrat High court in the year 2010, whereby the court held that technicians, those not possessing the MCI recognised pathology degree cannot run independent pathology unit. The Gujarat High court had clearly stated
We accordingly hold that the Laboratory Technicians being not Pathologists, cannot run any laboratory independently. They cannot directly give any report to any patient or any other individual, or to any institution or practicing doctor, without the authentication of the same by the pathologist registered with the Medical Council. Though it is open to any person or institute to run a pathology laboratory, but no report can be issued without the signature or counter signature of the practicing pathologist recognized by the Medical Council of India. The respondents are directed to ensure that no pathology laboratory is run by any unqualified person or institute having no recognised pathologists registered with the Medical Council. However, if such pathological laboratory is run by a pathologist registered with the Medical Council, or if such pathological laboratory engages a pathologist registered with the Medical Council, the respondents may allow such laboratory to run. Individual Laboratory Technician cannot be allowed to run pathological laboratory independently without engaging a pathologist registered with the Medical Council.
Challenging the said decision, the petitioners filed an SLP in the Supreme court. The court, however, after going through the case held the stand of the Medical Council Of India which stated that laboratory Report can be counter signed only by a registered medical practitioner with a post graduate qualification in pathology is correct.
The supreme court, disposing off the petitions held
We dispose of all these special leave petitions and other pending applications, if any, by taking a view that the stand of the Medical Council of India that Laboratory Report can be counter signed only by a registered medical practitioner with a post graduate qualification in pathology is correct.
The decision follows the dictum of the Medical council of india, that was issued to the NABL, which stated, all lab reports to be signed/countersigned by persons registered with MCI/State Medical Council.”
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that in a similar matter, where the question on who can sign lab reports was raised by Medical Mscs, the Delhi High Court had pointed out that Medical MScs, PhDs can only sign Technical Reports, not Medical Reports, against upholding the MCI stand that laboratory reports being a form of medical certificate, can only be authenticated by persons registered with the Medical Council of India
To read the Judgement of the Supreme Court, click on the following Link:-
To read the Judgement of the Gujarat High Court, click on the following Link