In Court

Published: Thursday 15 January 2004

Green Studies: The Supreme Court has directed all states to include environment as a subject in school and college syllabi from the next academic year. It has also directed the National Council for Education Research and Training (ncert) -- a nodal government body on education -- to frame a model syllabus on the subject. A bench comprising Justice N Santos Hegde and Justice B P Singh asked the ncert to frame and submit it to the apex court by April 14, 2004: if found suitable, the syllabus would be "uniformly" applied throughout the country.

The apex court's December 19, 2003 directive was in response to a petition filed by environmental lawyer M C Mehta. In his petition, Mehta argued that although the apex court had asked environment education to be included as a subject in academic syllabi as early as 1991, that directive hadn't been implemented in any of the states. Now the judges have asked states to comply to the 12-year old directive in the 2004-2005 academic year. States are to take strict disciplinary action against any institution that fails to do so.

price fraud: Through the High Court of London, England's National Health Service (NHS) is suing 7 pharmaceutical companies for 30 million (Rs 242.4 crore). The NHS alleges the firms fixed a price for common penicillin-based drugs, as a result of which it had to pay over the odds for such medicines. All the companies sued make generic medicines by copying formulas no longer protected by patent laws. Such medicines account for two out of every three NHS prescriptions. The case is part of a massive investigation into alleged drug frauds, which the NHS says may lead to more court action.

According to Jim Gee, chief executive of the NHS' Counter Fraud and Security Management Services -- "vigorously" pursuing drug pricing fraud -- said the aim was to "secure the maximum possible recovery for the NHS either by judgement and damages or earlier agreement with the defendant companies".

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