Observing that taxpayers' money, of which the state is a trustee, cannot be wasted by letting "precious medicines" lie unused at a hospital when other facilities are in dire need of those, the Calcutta High Court on Friday asked the Bengal government to apprise it of the amount spent on purchase of medicines in the last five years.
The government has to make plans to save money wherever possible, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee said, while hearing a suo motu writ petition on a news report which pointed out that medicines worth Rs one crore may get wasted at Beliaghata ID Hospital as these are allegedly nearing their expiry dates.
"One needs to keep in mind that taxpayers' money of which the state is a trustee, cannot be allowed to be wasted like this. The entire mind and energy should not be used for framing the schemes to make the voters happy," the bench further observed.
The matter was taken up suo motu earlier this week after Justice Shivakant Prasad brought to the notice of the Acting Chief Justice a news report published in a Hindi daily that expressed apprehension over waste of medicines at the Bengal government-run Beliaghata ID hospital.
The division bench directed that a notice be issued to the Bengal government through its chief secretary and the secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department.
The bench directed the government to apprise the court of "the amount spent on purchase of different medicines and other consumables in West Bengal during the last five years in different hospitals and medical colleges and the amount of medicines which had to be disposed of as the same could not be utilised before their expiry date".
The state government was also directed to inform the court if any software was used for monitoring the purchase, supply and utilisation of medicines in different hospitals.
The court further sought to know if all hospitals of the state are connected to a computer network.
The division bench observed that there is a need to develop a mechanism which would help check wasteful expenditure on purchase of medicines in different hospitals and medical colleges.
The matter will be taken up for hearing again on July 8.