New Delhi: Satisfied with the central government’s scheme to compensate the victims of faulty hip implants by pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson Pvt. Ltd (J&J), the Supreme Court on Friday wrapped up a PIL on this issue. There were more than 14,000 patients who had undergone the surgery since 2005.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took note of the affidavit and the report filed by the central government in this regard, and said nothing further survived for adjudication in view of the scheme for compensation.
The bench recorded that the government has accepted the recommendations made by a panel appointed to devise a scheme, and under the scheme, a victim can be compensated between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1.22 crore. The court asked the government to give wide publicity to the scheme so that maximum benefits can reach to the victims.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi showed up on behalf of J&J and pointed out that the firm has moved the Delhi High Court against the compensation scheme but it was not being heard because a PIL was pending before the Supreme Court. Rohatgi added that the top court should also make it clear that disposal of the PIL in these proceedings would not have any effects on the matter before the High Court.
The bench, however, was unimpressed and refrained from making any observation in its final order. The apex court had on 5 October sought the views of the Centre’s expert panel on faulty hip implants by J&J and directed its report to be filed in two months.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by Arun Kumar Goenka, a businessman, seeking protection of the fundamental right under Article 21 (right to life) of 14,525 patients who had undergone the deputy acetabular surface replacement (ASR) hip implant surgeries since 2005.
The petition had also sought the appointment of a special investigation team (SIT) to oversee effective measures for the implementation of immediate action against the implants and asked for directions to the government to advertise across India about the recall of the faulty implants.