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Consider State's Request To Increase Oxygen, Remdesivir Allocation : Karnataka High Court Directs Centre

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 April 2021 11:06 AM GMT
Consider States Request To Increase Oxygen, Remdesivir Allocation : Karnataka High Court Directs Centre
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The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Government Of India to immediately consider the request which would be made by the State Government seeking to increase the cap on supply of Remdesivir and Oxygen allotment to the state, in view of the increase in Covid-19 cases. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar said "The Central...

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The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Government Of India to immediately consider the request which would be made by the State Government seeking to increase the cap on supply of Remdesivir and Oxygen allotment to the state, in view of the increase in Covid-19 cases.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar said "The Central government will take into consideration the increase in Covid-19 cases in the state. The Central government's decision in increasing the cap on supply of Remdesivir and oxygen shall be placed on record by Monday (May 3)."

Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi informed the court that there is a cap of 802 MT per day on allocation of medical oxygen to the state. The production of Oxygen in the state exceeds much more than the requirement of the state but in view of the cap of 802 MT per day the state cannot utilize the excess amount. The estimated requirement of oxygen for the state is 1471 MT per day. As regards Remdesivir medicine it was submitted that the quota for the State of Karnataka is 1.22 lakhs for a period between April 21 to April 30.

Dr H M Prasanna, President of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes association (PHANA) contended that around 10,000 vials are required per day in Benagluru alone. It was also informed that the supply of remdesivir medicine is routed through the state government and thus not entire demand if met.

In its order the bench said "We direct the state government to estimate the number of Remdesivir vials required in private hospitals as well 50 percent reserved beds in hospitals and submit a report to the Central government. We direct the state government to give a requisition to the central government to increase the outer limit, within two days. We direct the Central government to consider the request of the state government to increase outer limit allocation, considering the situation in the state of Karnataka. We direct the Central government to take immediate decision on the requisition submitted by the state government."

The court also directed the State and BBMP to permanently put up on all the helpdesk outside covid hospitals the contact number of the Deputy Drug controller in-charge of supply of remdesivir, so that relatives can easily contact the drug controller for getting Remdesivir.

The court also recorded the submission made by PHANA that it will issue instructions that Remdesivir will be prescribed to only those patients who need it immediately.

Obligation of State to provide treatment to patients of Covid-19.

The bench in its order reminded the state/central government as well as for agencies and instrumentalities of the state about their obligation under the constitution.

Referring to the judgment in the case of Devika Vishwas and others, in which the Apex court reiterated that Right to Life under Article 21 of Constitution. Right to lead a dignified life and meaningful life will include Right to Health. The apex court held that Right to Health is an integral facet of right under Article 21.

Also the judgement in the case of Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs Union Of India & Others on 16 December, 1983 the apex court held that Protection accorded by Article 21 of the Constitution of India must include the protection of strength of workers, men and women.

The court said "Today we are dealing with the extraordinary situation of Covid-19. Those who are getting infected by covid-19 are looking upon the state and it agencies and instrumentalities to provide them best possible medical treatment and best possible health care. Covid-19 is such a disease which requires specialized treatment."

It added "Therefore, it is necessary for us to remind the state and central government and all agencies and instrumentalities of the state that Right to Health is an integral part of Article 21 of Constitution of India. It is the obligation of all authorities to make all possible efforts to provide medical treatment to all those persons who are infected. Let all authorities remember that ultimately they are dealing with Fundamental Rights of citizens under Article 21 of Right to Life."

Availability of Beds:

The bench recorded the statement made by counsel for BBMP that after the last date of hearing, in the city of bengalur only 329 general beds have been added, 425 HDU beds and 29 ICU beds and 21 ICU with ventilator beds have been added. It said "This marginal increase may not be of relief to patients and he stated that at 9.30 am there were only 30 ICU beds and 14 ICU beds with ventilators. This has to be judged in the context of the fact that yesterday the figure of positive cases has jumped and crossed 22,000."  

It also recorded the submission made by Advocate M N Kumar appearing for Central Government that the South Western Railway, is in position to provide 300 beds, in Bengaluru and Mysore. These beds have facilities of Oxygen.

Accordingly the court issued the following directions:

"As far city is concerned we direct BBMP and state govt to take immediate steps to contact officers of South Western Railway and take over beds which are available. State or local authorities shall take immediate steps to take over the beds available with the Railway at Mysuru and Hubli."

Further the court observed "In situations created by disaster the Armed forces, have always respected and helped civic administration. The situation in Bengaluru is very critical. We therefore direct officers of BBMP including the Commissioner and state government to immediately hold a meeting with officers of Army and Airforce in the city. We hope and trust that Army/Airforce officers will go out of the way to help civic administration by creating a large number of beds with oxygen," it said.

In view of the principles laid down in the Disaster Management Act of 2005 the court said "The state will have to be in a state of preparedness by keeping the estimate of beds which may be required in near future in Benagluru and all other major cities of the state. Unless the state estimates the bed requirement it may not be able to provide treatment to patients of covid-19. We direct the state to place on record the steps taken to prepare a broad estimate of beds in the near future and increase capacity of all the hospitals."

Other directions:

Due to lockdown and huge surge in covid cases in the state, the issue of food security, relief to the workers will require urgent attention.

The court said "Lockdown started two days back. The effect of lockdown on the weaker section of society will have to be assessed. It will be appropriate that the Advocate General convenes a meeting with advocates appearing for different petitioners so that the state can assess the impact of lockdown."

It added "State will come out with concrete steps to help weaker sections of the society by providing ration etc. The steps shall be placed on record on the next date of hearing. Considering views of all persons."

State and BBMP will have to consider making available covid-19 centres for those patients who do not require hospitalisation.BBMP will have to activate ward level officers to ensure that those who cannot self isolate at home are encouraged to make use of Covid centres.

State Government to consider the report submitted by Karnataka State Legal Services Authority.

Court records appreciation for work done by all stakeholders:

The bench said "We clarify that there are several government officials, officials attached to various agencies and instrumentalities, doctors nurses and para medical staff, who have done excellent work and it needs to be appreciated. While we are passing orders in the context of Article 21, we must appreciate the efforts of all stakeholders taken in the right direction."

The court concluded by saying "We make it clear that directions issued by the court for the city of Bengaluru will have to be implemented in its true letter and spirit in other cities of the state where there are a large number of covid-19 cases."

The matter will be next heard on May 5.

Click here to read/download the order




 


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