The bench of Justices ZA Haq and Amit B Borkar headed the case based on a report in the newspaper, Hitava (CityLine) dated April 28, 2021, according to which, the Nagpur police had booked 32 people and one doctor for black marketing of the Remdesivir injections.
The newspaper had reported that due to the rise in demand for Remdesivir Injections, many persons related to the hospitals are indulged in black marketing of the life-saving drug.
Observations by the Court
The bench of Justices observed that in the plight of the second wave of Covid-19, Nagpur seemed to be even worse off than before.
“In such a crisis, the Courts cannot be a mute spectator and cannot turn Nelson’s eye to such incidents which are reported in the newspaper,” The court said.
The court recognized that the large-scale demand and the shortage to meet the demand was resulting in a huge black-market supply of the drug where people who weren’t so well off couldn’t afford the drug at market prices.
The court also noted that people were not reporting these instances to the law-enforcing agencies and instead were willing to buy the drug at exponential prices to save their loved ones.
The court commended the efforts by the Police force saying that, “It is necessary to initiate measures to deter such unscrupulous persons from indulging in black marketing of life-saving drugs like Remdesivir Injection. Therefore we appreciate the initiative of the Police in taking action in the matter.”
The court had also ordered that to dissuade the black-marketers, the entire process of investigation and trial of the people involved in the black marketing of Remdesivir needs to be concluded and the entire trial should be conducted swiftly.
The court said that in these unprecedented times, unprecedented steps had to be taken to ensure justice. Hence, it proceeded to register a Suo motu criminal application in exercise of its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Amicus Curiae in the Suo-Motu PIL, Advocate SP Bhandarkar, was appointed the Amicus Curiae in the now criminal case too.
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