Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

'Let Government Realize They Supplied Inferior Ventilators' : Bombay HC Seeks Action On Faulty Ventilators Got Under PM CARES Funds

Sharmeen Hakim
25 May 2021 12:08 PM GMT
Let Government Realize They Supplied Inferior Ventilators : Bombay HC Seeks Action On Faulty Ventilators Got Under PM CARES Funds
x
"If the PM cares fund is to be used for providing ventilators, it should be ventilators worthy of medical use, and if they are not worthy of medical use, it's just a box", the High Court observed.

The Bombay High Court's Aurangabad bench on Tuesday took serious note of at least 113 defective ventilators of the 150 ventilators provided to the Marathwada region through the PM Cares Fund, and directed the Union of India to state the remedial measures it plans to take regarding the same. Aghast at learning that a "patient becoming hypoxic" was cited as one reason behind the...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Bombay High Court's Aurangabad bench on Tuesday took serious note of at least 113 defective ventilators of the 150 ventilators provided to the Marathwada region through the PM Cares Fund, and directed the Union of India to state the remedial measures it plans to take regarding the same.

Aghast at learning that a "patient becoming hypoxic" was cited as one reason behind the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) rejecting the ventilators from PM Cares, the bench orally asked the Chief Public Prosecutor if the ventilators can be returned. The hospital did not unbox the remaining 37 ventilators after 113 were found defective.

A division bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Justice DU Bedabwar was hearing its suo motu criminal PIL on covid-19 management in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra.

"This is a very serious issue. Why don't you send it back? We appreciate Central Ministry gave it to you, but if it's likely to be a health risk or health hazard to a patient, you can't use it. It's better that you write to the Government and send it back.

Let the Government realise they had supplied inferior quality ventilators, let them go back and replace them with certain good quality ventilators. If the PM cares fund is to be used for providing ventilators, it should be ventilators worthy of medical use, and if they are not worthy of medical use, it's just a box", the bench orally said.

The court also asked the Union and State to inform it about the action it plans to take against the company JYOTI CNC, which has manufactured these ventilators.

"The company should not get away with this. It's the state ex-chequers money; it's not bounty to be distributed," Justice Ravindra Ghuge said.

"Call upon ASGI to state as to what action would the UOI initiate on this count. He submits that he would take instruction. We would be taking up this issue on May 28, 2021, and we expect the ASGI to be prepared to address this issue and the remedial steps to be taken." The bench said while dictating the order.

Based on a 55-page compilation by the Chief Public Prosecutor DR Kale for the State, the bench noted that the Dean Government Medical College received 150 ventilators through the PM Cares Fund. The GMCH used 17 ventilators, 41 were given to five private hospitals on the condition that they would not take ventilator charges from patients, and 55 ventilators were distributed to other districts.

The bench noted in its order that the medical college found, "Each of them would impact the treatment process of the patients. To appear to be extremely serious flaws pertaining to low inlet O2 pressure display and patient becoming hypoxic when on the ventilator. The last reason could be life-threatening."

The bench said that GMCH's dean was justified in not unboxing the remaining ventilators.

"We find a serious aspect before us as regards the flawless functioning of the ventilators. Except for the 37 ventilators, which are yet to be unboxed, 113 Ventilator are found to be defective. As such, the Dean of GMCH justifies her decision to not unbox the remaining 37 ventilators as all the 113 ventilators that have been put to use suffered from malfunctioning."

The court took note of the letters from private hospitals asking authorities to take back the ventilators as "not a single ventilator is functional and these private hospitals have declined to utilise them as a serious threat to the life of the patient is created."

However, the bench noted that all the 74 ventilators independently supplied by several industrialists like Real Tyre, Cosmo films, Bajaj Auto limited, Garware Polyester Ltd, Hindalco Ltd, Endress + Hauser (India) automation, Taiyo Kagaku India Pvt Ltd, Chamber of Marathwada Industries are perfectly operational and are flawless.

POLITICIANS entering Hospitals to Check Ventilators

During the hearing, Amicus Curiae SS Bora pointed out newspapers reports of some people's representatives having jumped into the issue of the non-functional ventilators supplied through the PM cares fund. And some visiting hospitals and medical colleges to find out whether the ventilators Are functioning or not.

The bench frowned at such behaviour by people's representatives, asking them to refrain from speaking about matters in which they don't any expertise.

"This is not adversarial. We want all the politicians to keep quiet on this. Do they have the knowledge and expertise? If they do, ask them to repair these ventilators. If they don't have the knowledge, it is better they keep quiet."

"Two respectable deans of medical colleges are saying they are not functional, let us not pretend we know more than them. And if they wish to, ask some of the MPs to put them in their own hospitals and check them," justice Ghuge noted orally.

The bench later said while dictating its order,

"We express our displeasure at such indulgence by the People's representatives, this is likely to be more bothersome to the medical faculty than render assistance. Contrary statements are being issued by the politicians, which be find to be distasteful as some politicians have visited the hospitals, posing as if they have the knowledge and expertise to recommend correctional methods. Some have declared all the ventilators are in good working condition, and some have stated that as the ventilators were lying idle, they have become dysfunctional.

Photographs have been published by these newspapers which indicate that a local MLA having no connection with the medical faculty is inspecting the ventilators's in the GMCH. We would appreciate if a political colour is not attached to this aspect since the ventilators are believed to be live-saving instruments, and slightest of non-functioning, can put the life of the patient at risk."

Click here to read/download the order passed by the bench(uploaded later)





Next Story
Share it