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COVID- Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking Declaration Of Medicines, Medical Equipment As Essential Commodities, Setting Up Of Special Fast Track Courts

Nupur Thapliyal
10 May 2021 10:58 AM GMT
COVID- Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking Declaration Of Medicines, Medical Equipment As Essential Commodities, Setting Up Of Special Fast Track Courts
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The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a public interest litigation seeking directions on the Delhi Government to issue notification regarding covid medicines and medical equipments including oxygen cylinders and Concentrators under sec. 3 of the Essential Commodities Act in order to curb instances of hoarding. The plea also prays for setting up of fast track special court for...

The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a public interest litigation seeking directions on the Delhi Government to issue notification regarding covid medicines and medical equipments including oxygen cylinders and Concentrators under sec. 3 of the Essential Commodities Act in order to curb instances of hoarding. The plea also prays for setting up of fast track special court for dealing exclusively with cases of black marketing and hoarding of such equipments and medicines.

A division bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the Union of India and Government of NCT of Delhi.

The plea, moved by Manisha Chauhan and filed through Advocates Sanjeev Sagar and Nazia Praveen, highlights the recent incidents of hoarding and medical equipments seized by the Delhi Police wherein people without trade licences and authority under law are indulging in malpractices of hoarding.

Relying on the recent direction given by the High Court to the Delhi Police to book persons who are hoarding such drugs and equipments and bring them to the notice of the Court, the plea states that the notification issued by the Delhi Government dated 25 April "deals with drugs only but does not deal with medical equipments including oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators."

"That as the entire nation is battling with a pandemic which has created a warlike situation it is imperative to beseech the indulgence of this Hon'ble Court for timely direction to the respondents for taking appropriate action so that guilty persons involved in black marketing and hoarding do not go scot free." The plea reads.

The plea also highlights a recent incident wherein 520 oxygen concentrators were seized by the Delhi Police last week in which the alleged primary accused, Navneet Kalra is absconding. 

"It is not a small recovery more particularly when the persons named in the FIR don't belong to medical trade and were admittedly selling oxygen concentrators at prices way above the regular price and at fake MRP. In this regard, it is submitted that in view of the directions of this Hon'ble Court, as per order dated 02.05.2021 in WP (C) No. 3031 of 2021, contempt proceedings would have to be initiated against all of them for violation of the orders of this Hon'ble Court." The plea states further.

It is pertinent to note that a Delhi Court today refused to grant stay on coercive action against businessman Navneet Kalra in the anticipatory bail application moved by him in connection with the recovery and seizure of Oxygen Concentrators by the Delhi Police last week.

Furthermore, the petition also seeks appointment of a special designated court to deal with offences under "Essential Commodities Act and Epidemic Act" and appointment of one special public prosecutor who is well versed with the orders of this court and in law "to deal with offenders who are playing with right to life of the citizens of Delhi and thus violating Article 21 of Constitution of India." 

"It is imperative to sensitize the miscreants in the society that anyone, howsoever influential one might be, will not be spared if found indulging in black marketing and hoarding. Infact, by doing so, this Hon'ble Court shall send a message to the society that no one will be spared who violates the law." The plea submits further.

The plea seeks the following prayers:

- Direct the Delhi Government to issue notification regarding medicines and medical equipment's under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act.

- Direct setting up of one fast-track special courtfor dealing exclusively with cases of black marketing and hoarding of medical equipment's and medicines for treatment of Covid-19.

- Direct appointment of special public prosecutor for prosecution of cases before special courts of black marketing and hoarding of medical equipment's and medicines for treatment of Covid-19.

- Initiate contempt proceedings against the contemnors named in FIR No. 116 of 2021 and other persons as per the list of Delhi Government for criminal contempt and for wilful disobedience and flouting of the orders passed by this Hon'ble Court.

- Direct the Union of India pass effective orders thereby restraining individuals without having a valid medical trade license under Medical Devices Rules 2020 from importing medicines and medical equipment's and confine the import to hospitals or institutions; also permit individual import to one person one quantity for self-use in-order to curb profiteering and hoarding of medical equipment's and medicines.

- Direct the registry of this hon'ble court to forward all orders passed by this hon'ble court to the concerned designated special court dealing with cases under "Essential Commodities Act and Epidemic act" such that they are aware of the current status of proceedings and orders of this Hon'ble Court.

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