SC: Medical Oxygen IP and Nitrous Oxide IP are medicines

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 13th April 2020. In the matter of The State of Andhra Pradesh v. M/s Linde India Ltd. (Formerly BOC India Ltd) pronounced that Medical Oxygen IP and Nitrous Oxide IP are medicines which fall within the ambit of Section 3(b)(i) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The term „medicine‟ is not defined in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. It is a trite principle of interpretation that the words of a statute must be construed according to the plain, literal and grammatical meaning of the words. (Para 16)

The words of a statute should be first understood in their natural, ordinary or popular sense and phrases and sentences should be construed according to their grammatical meaning, unless that leads to some absurdity or unless there is something in the context, or in the object of the statute to suggest the contrary. Where a word has a secondary meaning, the assessment is whether the natural, ordinary or popular meaning flows from the context in which the word has been employed. In such cases, the distinction disappears and courts must adopt the meaning which flows as a matter of plain interpretation and the context in which the word appears. (Para 16)

There is no doubt that Medical Oxygen IP and Nitrous Oxide IP are medicines used for or in the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of any disease or disorder in human beings falling within the ambit of Section 3(b)(i) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. (Para 31)

Medical Oxygen IP and Nitrous Oxide IP fall within the ambit of Section 3(b)(i) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. (Para 31)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_13-Apr-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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