The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the municipal and district authorities from Marathwada and North Maharashtra under its jurisdiction to impose additional directives for citizens, government officials and public representatives in view of the Covid-19 situation and initiate strict action in case of violations.
The court made it mandatory for everyone venturing out on the road — barring the four-hour morning relaxation between Monday and Friday — to carry Aadhaar cards, failing which an offence would be registered, and said that the authorities will be at liberty to subject the violators to RT-PCR test.
The Aurangabad bench of the HC, after perusing several news reports, on April 22 initiated a suo motu PIL to address issues of funeral rites of Covid-19 patients, shortage of medical oxygen supply and black marketing of Remdesivir among others.
A division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar on Monday passed various directions pertaining to violation of Covid-19 restrictions, adulteration of Remdesivir injections, problems faced by relatives of deceased Covid patients among others.
“Barring relaxation of 4 hours (7 am to 11 am) Monday to Friday, any person using a vehicle during the restriction period shall carry Aadhaar card with him or her, failing which concerned road traffic police would register offence against such persons. Ambulances are exempted from such directions,” the HC said, adding that doctors and medical staff can also carry their Aadhaar cards.
The court said that people wearing masks below the chin or exposing their mouth or nose are Covid-19 ‘super-spreaders’ and police can book them for offences of not wearing masks. The bench observed that Covid-19 cases in Aurangabad were coming down because testing was reduced.
The court also took a note of an order of the Aurangabad district collector granting relaxation to the Muslim community between 5 pm and 8 pm during Ramzan to cater to distribution of food and milk.
The bench said the police would take this into account and refrain from registering offences against members of the community during the relaxation period “only during Ramadan month”.
Moreover, the court said that criminal offences should be registered against persons involved in adulteration of Remdesivir injections and unauthorised sale of the same. It said that employees of state authorities involved in such acts should also be booked and disciplinary inquiry should be initiated.
The HC said that doctors and hospitals should use other drugs such as Tocilizumab if Remdesivir is not available and stop “over-insistence” on administering Remdesivir which leads to “shortfall”.
It directed Covid-19 hospitals to ensure that status of availability of beds is uploaded on their website and asked the authorities to hold press conferences or issue press releases at 7 pm every day to indicate Covid facilities available in various districts.
The bench said that public representatives shall not exert any pressure on any police officer to extricate any violator of restrictions from being booked. It also directed the authorities to clamp down on black-marketing and profiteering regarding conduct of funeral rites of Covid-19 victims and suggested erecting electric crematoriums.
Seeking responses from central, state and local authorities, the HC posted further hearing to May 3.
Plea against BJP MP in HC
Mumbai: The HC was informed of a separate plea filed by one Arun Kadu, a 70-year-old agriculturist from Rahuri, Ahmednagar, along with three others through advocate Pradnya S Talekar, alleging ‘illegal’ and ‘secret’ procurement and distribution of about 10000 vials of Remdesivir from pharmaceutical companies by Dr. Sujay-Vikhe Patil, a BJP MP from Ahmednagar.
The plea sought action against the MP and confiscation of such injections.
The bench told the central government lawyer, “How he (MP) got it from right under your nose in Delhi? Schemes are good but humans who destroy it. System is good but it is rotten by people.”
The HC refrained from passing any specific order and said it would deal with the petition on April 29. It noted, “Meantime, respondent authorities be at liberty to take effective steps, as they would have taken in the event of such eventuality and do what a call of duty demands them to do.” (ENS)