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Oxygen Concentrators Not Classified As 'Essential Commodity': Uttarakhand High Court Seeks Centre, State Govt. Response

Sparsh Upadhyay
21 May 2021 9:16 AM GMT
Oxygen Concentrators Not Classified As Essential Commodity: Uttarakhand High Court Seeks Centre, State Govt. Response
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The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday (May 20) sought response of the Central Government and the Government of Uttarakhand on a slew of issues. The Court had received a letter sent by an advocate Aditya Pratap Singh, wherein he has highlighted certain difficulties being faced by the people of the State while battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra...

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The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday (May 20) sought response of the Central Government and the Government of Uttarakhand on a slew of issues.

The Court had received a letter sent by an advocate Aditya Pratap Singh, wherein he has highlighted certain difficulties being faced by the people of the State while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma gave Mr. C.S. Rawat, the Chief Standing Counsel appearing for the State, two weeks' time to file his counter-affidavit in the matter.

The letter pointed out that Oxygen Concentrators are not being classified as an "essential commodity", despite the fact that it can be done so under the Essential Commodities Act.

Secondly, according to him, the private laboratories were charging exorbitant fees for carrying out CT scan. Therefore, he submitted that the State Government should cap the fees being charged by the private laboratories.

Thirdly, it was stated that RT-PCR test results are forged in order to circumvent the Standard Operating Procedures ('the SOPs' for short) issued by the Union of India and the State Government.

Seeking a response from the State Government, the High Court asked Aditya Pratap Singh, the counsel for the petitioner to implead the Union of India as a necessary party in the petition within a period of three days.

Further, the Court said,

"In case, the amended cause-title is filed by Aditya Pratap Singhr, the Registry is directed to issue notice to Mr. Rakesh Thapliyal, the learned Assistant Solicitor General for the Union of India and the Assistant Solicitor General, is directed to submit his counter-affidavit by June 8, 2021."

The matter has been listed for further hearing on June 9, 2021.

In related news, the Uttarakhand High Court today made critical observations against the State Government for allowing the 'Kumbh Mela', in which over 10 million devotees congregated over several weeks, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court came down heavily on the State Government over its failure to ensure that COVID norms were being followed in the temples and religious festivals.

The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma observed that in Badrinath and Kedarnath, the concerned priests were not maintaining social distancing COVID protocols.

While questioning the State as to what would happen if COVID spreads among the priests, Chief Justice R. S. Chauhan specifically remarked,

"In Kedarnath & Badrinath temples, I have seen videos that social distancing is not being followed by the Priests. Even if diety is being worshipped, you can't let 23 priests enter the temple. Who is the person appointed by the State to monitor this?"

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