NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on 26 February dismissed a plea filed by the Centre seeking recovery of about Rs 80 crore from Cipla Ltd, which the company had allegedly overcharged on drug formulations.
A bench comprising Justice B P Singh and Justice H S Bedi dismissed the petition and returned the matter to Bombay High Court for consideration.
The Centre had moved the apex court seeking recovery of Rs 80 crore and interest. The government claimed that the company had sold Salbutamol based formulations between July 1995 to June 2000 at an exaggerated price.
Alleging gross overcharging by the company and violation of price control notifications, the Centre said the money had been collected in violation of the Drug Price Control Order 1995 and it can recover the entire amount as the apex court had granted conditional stay.
The Centre in its petition, filed through D S Mahra, also said that the company suppressed facts and till date has not paid any amount that have been overcharged despite the order passed by the apex court on August 1, 2003.
The Supreme Court had allowed the government to recover 50% of the “overcharged” amount in August 2003, but had stayed the recovery of the balance amount. Later in March 2005, it warned the Centre not launch any criminal prosecution against Cipla.
The company had earlier moved Bombay, Allahabad and Karnataka High Courts challenging the inclusion of certain bulk drugs Salbutamol and Theophyline in the first schedule of the Drug Price Control Order 1995. The pharma major had also assailed price notifications for Salbutamol-based formulations in the Karnataka High Court.