Reiterating the matter of “who can sign lab report”, Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Ashwini Kumar Choubey recently informed the Rajya Sabha about the Supreme Court order stating that only a registered medical practitioner with a postgraduate qualification in pathology can sign lab report. Giving a written reply to a question put up in Rajya Sabha, the minister said
As per clause (c) of sub-section (2) of Section 15 of IMC Act, 1956, no person other than a doctor having qualification recognized by MCI and registered with MCI/State Medical Council(s) is allowed to practice modern system of medicine or sign or authenticate a medical or fitness certificate or any other certificate required by any law to be signed. Further, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide order dated 12.12.2017 in the Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 28529/2010 in the matter of North Gujarat Unit of Association of Self Employed Owners (Paramedical) of Private Pathology Laboratories of Gujarat Vs. North Gujarat Pathologists Association & Ors held 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”.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that said 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.
Supreme Court, after hearing all the parties had held ;
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.