P&H HC | Raids to be conducted on chemist shops/manufacturing units to check exorbitant price of sanitisers and substandard quality of face masks

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Amol Rattan, J., directed raids to be conducted at chemist shops and manufacturing units to collect samples of hand sanitisers/ hand disinfectants as well as face masks.

The direction for raid was given to check the exorbitant price of sanitisers and substandard quality of face masks.
Presently, the issue with regard to maintainability of FIR had been raised. State Counsel, Munish Bansal submitted that as per Section 10-A of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, it is very much maintainable.

The other essential question was whether, even if petitioner has a license to manufacture the hand sanitiser in question, could the maximum retail price as have been displayed to be above Rs 250 for 500 mls., against the Centre’s notification dated 21st March, 2020, wherein all hand sanitisers shall not be priced at more than Rs 100 per 200 mls.?

Another point raised was, if it is established that any of the products stated to have been seized/purchased by the Drugs Control Office, Hisar show a maximum retail price of more than Rs 500, the question that next arose was — would that also amount to cheating the public and therefore, would an offence punishable under the relevant provisions of IPC consequently be made out, or not?

Bench took suo motu notice of the fact that most companies manufacturing and selling hand sanitizers, even after March 21, 2020 have been showing the maximum retail price of such products to be far above Rs 250 for 200 mls. and consequently the Additional Chief Secretaries/ Principal Secretaries/Secretaries in the Departments of Health, and Food and Supplies, of the States of Haryana, Punjab and U.T. Chandigarh, are directed to have ‘raids’ conducted at chemist shops and manufacturing units, to obtain samples of hand sanitizers/hand disinfectants.

Wherever the  above stated products are manufactured after March 2020, showing a maximum retail price above Rs 250/- for 500 mls./more than Rs 100/- for 200 mls., proceedings as per law shall be initiated against all such manufacturers.

Court also noticed that a large number of brands of facial masks as have been purchased, are of highly sub-standard quality, where even while trying the masks, the strings attached break off immediately, thereby making the masks unusable.

Matter to be listed on 6th July, 2020. [Raman & Weil (P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 787 , decided on 19-06-2020]

One comment

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    Some people have been taking advantage of the serious pandemic going around in the world and selling sanitizers and masks according to their means. The raids would help in stopping these illegal things. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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