Asia & Australia

December 13, 2017

Registered medical practitioner can only sign laboratory report: SC


Upholding a decision of the Medical Council of India (MCI), the Supreme Court ruled that a laboratory report can be counter signed only by a registered medical practitioner with a post graduate qualification in pathology.

The court was hearing Special Leave Petitions filed against a Gujarat High Court where the court said that Laboratory Technicians, not being Pathologists, cannot run any laboratory independently.

According to the High Court, the Laboratory Technicians (Pathology) are not registered with MCI, whereas Doctors in Pathology, who have obtained MBBS qualification, are registered. So, the latter was permitted to sign or counter sign a lab report.

During the latest hearing, the bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R Banumathi said, “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 recognized 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,” the court added.

In July 2017, MCI had issued a directive mandating that all lab reports be signed by a qualified MBBS doctor registered with either the MCI or a state medical council.

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