“In future if we find other instances where private persons are getting them directly from (pharmaceutical) companies, we’ll injunct the companies,’’ said a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni hearing three PILs regarding shortage of Remdesivir, oxygen, beds and delayed Covid tests results.
During the hearing, the judges referred to a “political figure” (BJP MP Sujay Patil from Ahmednagar) procuring 10,000 vials from Delhi. “How is it possible? It was airlifted by chartered plane. Will it not amount to private supply?” asked Justice Kulkarni.
The judges also took note that Remdesivir was procured from Delhi, which is facing a shortage. “Delhi is in crisis. Delhi is in need. How can they get it?’’ asked Justice Kulkarni. The judges said while the HC’s Aurangabad bench is seized of the matter, authorities “must increase surveillance.”
They said the State and Union ought to check the veracity of media reports. “There is an interview of a person who got it,’’ Justice Kulkarni pointed out. He said, “We want the drug to reach everybody. It should not be in the hands of few. Every needy person should get it, not a few.”
The judges also pulled up BMC, the State and Centre for not complying with its April 22 directions to set up helplines, grant permissions for more laboratories to conduct tests, and appoint a nodal agent for allotting beds.
Asked about Mumbai’s progress, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, representing BMC, said 3800 new cases were reported on Monday, that there is adequate supply of oxygen and instructions are issued that no prescriptions should be asked for Covid tests. “The situation is much in control. On priority basis everything is managed,’’ he said, adding that BMC has not come across news of oxygen shortage in Mumbai.
But advocate Simil Purohit contended that less cases were due to fewer tests being carried out.
The judges got the advocates to dial BMC’s Covid helpline number to assess the situation regarding availability of beds. Advocate Arshil Shah informed that a Covid Care Centre at Worli on April 26 issued a certificate for shifting a patient to a `higher hospital.’ “I don’t know if subsequently she got a bed but it’s happening day in and day out,’’ Shah added. Advocate Rajesh Inamdar said the situation is similar in Pune. The court will take an update on the compliance of its April 22 order on Thursday.