- A PIL was filed before the Delhi High Court pointing out various issues faced by people during the covid.
- The reference case is Rakesh Malhotra v. Government of NCT & Others. [W.P(C) 3031/2020]
- The PIL was heard by a 2 judge bench of Delhi High Court comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli.
- The next date of hearing in this matter is on 22nd April 2021.
- This petition was filed before the Delhi HC last year by advocate Rakesh Malhotra which was disposed of by the HC as the covid seemed to go but as the 2nd wave of covid approached the states the petition was revived by the court.
- The bench took note of several issues like shortage of oxygen supply, hoarding by dealers or retailers of oxygen cylinders, wastage of vaccines, beds unavailable, shortage of critical medicines for patients with acute covid, etc.
- The Central & the State Government were asked to file an affidavit in this regard.
DIRECTIONS GIVEN BY COURT
• The Delhi HC showing concerns regarding the above-mentioned issues directed the government as follows:-
1. Oxygen Supply: The oxygen supply in various hospitals in Delhi are about to get exhausted with the next few hours. As the need for oxygen is immediately required as delay can cost loss of lives.
Thus, the Central Government is directed to provide oxygen to hospitals as it is need of the hour and the court finds it unusual to wait till 22nd April for diverting oxygen supplies from industrial use to medical use for the reasons best known to the Centre.
2. RTPCR Tests: The court noted that equipment is required to be imported for setting up RT-PCR test labs.
The court felt that all the equipment, materials or medicines required to be imported to tackle covid should be given top priority and should be given fast clearance by the Customs Department and thus the Centre is directed in this regard to the issue necessary directions to Custom Ports.
3. Clearance for Covid Testing Facilities: It is noticed by the court that the doctors or entrepreneurs are required to get a license from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for setting up covid testing facilities which are extremely time-consuming.
To expand and set up more RT-PCR test labs the court directed the Indian Council for Medical Research to give top priority to such clearances.
4. Delay in Preparing Test Reports: It was brought to the court's notice that due to various reasons like software that was devised for the RTPCR test report, linking Aadhar Cards, each form filing consumes at least 15 minutes are the reasons for the delay in getting test reports.
Thus, the court directed the Central Government and ICMR to review the form in a way that lessens the burden and wastage of time.
5. Hoarding & Selling Medicine in the Black Market: The court further noted that as per the reports in newspapers as there is a shortage of medicines, there are some retailers and dealers who are into hoarding these drugs necessary for covid patients and are selling at premium rates in the black market.
The court issued direction not only to the Centre but especially even to the Drug Controller of India to issue directions to all licensees, also undertake regular checks to ensure there is hoarding of drugs taking place and it is not sold in the black market.
6. Wastage of Vaccines: The court stated that ‘Wastage of single dose of vaccine = Criminal Waste’ as 1 vial contains 10 doses of vaccines.
The court observed and directed that the government should improve the COVIN application and also when 1 vial is open it should be used fully or else the remainder shall go to waste.
What do you think about the directions given by the Delhi HC? Comment below.