Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra CJ. and Parth Prateem Sahu, J. laid down noteworthy observations regarding various issues brought to the notice of the Court related to Covid.

The instant PIL was registered suo moto by the Court to take stock of the various issues that arose due to the coronavirus crisis.

It was submitted that the figures of vaccination provided therein are in violation of category-wise allocation of vaccination under the State Government’s order dated 9-5-2021. It was also submitted that the problem arising out of issuance of a defective certificate in respect of vaccination inasmuch as a person getting Covishield jab is issued a certificate of Covaxin jab.

Counsel for the State submitted that the State is making all possible efforts to adhere to its policy by maintaining the ratio of the percentage of vaccination amongst different categories as per its order dated 9-5-2021, while at the same time minimising the wastage.

The Court observed that violation of percentage of allocation for a particular category is happening because the vaccines are to be utilised at the center as is allocated for the given day so that there is minimum wastage and due to digital divide.

The Court observed that the whole vaccination programme is such a complex phenomenon that adherence to the percentage in precise terms is very difficult to achieve. It is the intent of the respondent to provide jab to the citizens which is more important than some glitches which are occurring at some places either while issuing a different certificate or the difficulties in scheduling for the second dose.

The Court observed, “the State shall ensure that the dead bodies are buried/cremated in a decent and respectful manner as the right to be respectfully and decently buried/cremated has always been treated to be inclusive in the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

The Court directed the State Government to take all necessary precautions that a person getting first jab of a particular brand/company, is issued the certificate of the same jab and not the other one.[Suo Moto WP (PIL) v. State of Chhattisgarh, Writ Petition (PIL) No. 27 of 2020, decided on 04-06-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Advocate for Petitioner: Mr. Rakesh Pandey

Amicus Curiae: Mr. Prafull N Bharat

Advocate for UOI. Mr. Ramakant Mishra

Advocate for Railways: Mr. Abhishek Sinha

Advocate for SLSA: Mr. Ashish Shrivastava

Advocates for the respective Interveners: Mr. Palash Tiwari, Mr. Anumeh Shrivastava, Mr. Devershi Thakur, Mr. Arjit Tiwari, Mr. Aman Pandey

Intervenor in Person-  Mr.  Himanshu Choubey

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Division Bench of Pankaj Mithal, CJ., and Vinod Chatterji Koul, J., warned the government of J&K to be prepared for the third wave. The Bench stated,

“It is to be borne in mind that the larger public interest always prevails over personal rights and the traditions and customs have to yield to the national interest especially in these unprecedented times. Accordingly, we dispose of the aforesaid application expressing hope that the authorities would not cause any harassment to the next of kins of any person dying due to Covid-19 in viewing the face of the deceased and in allowing them to perform the last rites in the manner laid down.”

Guidelines for Dead Body Management

In the instant PIL, various Covid-19 related issues had been raised before the Court. The counsel for one petitioner, Mr. Dinesh Singh Chauhan, prayed that as no post-mortem or autopsy is necessary on account of death due to Covid-19, the dead body should be handed over to the next of kins of the deceased, the face of the deceased be allowed to be seen by the relatives and they be permitted to perform rituals such as sprinkling of holy water etc before cremation. The Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued Covid-19 Guidelines on dead body management. The said guidelines inter alia provides for standard precautions to be followed by health care workers while handling dead bodies of Covid patients; the manner of removal of the dead body from the isolation centre; handling of the dead body in Mortuary; transportation and cremation. In other words, according to the guidelines, the dead body has to be carried to the cremation/ burial ground in a secured bag by the authorities for the performance of the last rites which shall ordinarily be in the presence of the relatives. We are informed that a maximum of 20 relatives are permitted. The guidelines also provides for viewing of the face of the deceased by the relatives and performing of rituals except for touching of the body. In view of the above guidelines and the permission accorded to view the face of the dead body by unzipping the bag and to perform last rites and rituals without touching the body.

Considering the abovementioned guidelines, the Bench opined that the religious sentiments of the family members had been sufficiently taken care of by the Government. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had framed the aforesaid guidelines in consultation with the experts dealing with Covid-19 pandemic and, as such, if the guidelines do not permit handing over of the dead body specifically to the next of the kins and simply allow them to participate in the cremation/ burial and to perform the last rites that was more than sufficient otherwise it would be difficult to contain the spread of the disease.

Other Issues Addressed by the Court

It was submitted before the Court by the government that the department of Health and Medical Education had accorded sanction to the establishment of two 500 bed temporary Covid Hospitals. In addition to it, 1366 posts of different categories had been created as per details enclosed so as to make these two hospitals fully operational. The government had issued directions, inter alia, putting sealing on gatherings especially in marriage functions to the extent of 25 only to continue; to make Covid testing more targeted and focussed in areas with high positivity and upon the unvaccinated population; for providing Corona Kits to all Covid positive patients; to open 5 to 10 bed Covid care centre in each Panchayat with all basic facilities; not to deny any patient admission to a hospital or treatment facility on the ground that they do not have a Covid positive test report; Asha and Anganwari workers had been directed to be trained and empowered to assist in covid migration efforts and to ensure only 50% attendance in Government offices.

In regard to oxygen for the Covid-19 patients, the Administration had ensured adequate supply of oxygen 24×7 to all healthcare institutions. It was also highlighted before the Court that there were dedicated Covid Hospitals for patients who had been clinically assigned severe; dedicated Covid Health Centres for patients clinically assigned as moderate; and Covid Care Centres for patients clinically assigned as mild.

In the backdrop of above, the Bench ordered that in case the applicants feel that the facilities provided by government are inadequate or that doctors or the other medical staff is not available, they can bring these facts to the notice of the Advocate General through Ms. Monika Kohli, Amicus Curiae who would take up the matter with the State Government and apprise the Court about the actual position. Regarding the denial by the government to establish liquid oxygen plant in the Government Medical College and allied hospitals, stating that there was no shortage of oxygen supply; the Bench stated that,

“There may not be any shortage of oxygen presently but for future to combat the anticipated third wave of Covid-19, it would be appropriate if the Government consider establishing of oxygen generation plants in each of the Government Medical Colleges or the allied hospitals. This would be beneficial for the medical world for all times to come in extending medical treatment to all categories of patients.”

The Bench urged the Government to prepare itself in advance to face the third wave, and for that purpose care should be taken to vaccinate each and every citizen at the earliest. The Government was also asked to ensure establishment of oxygen generation plants, and that the temporary arrangements made so far shall not be completely dismantled and be kept in readiness for future. [Suo Motu v. UT of J&K, WP (PIL) No. 5 of 2020, Order dated 03-06-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

Amicus Curiae: Adv. Monika Kohli

For the Petitioner: Adv. Aditya Gupta, Adv. Ashok Sharma, Adv. Mubeen Khan, Adv.  Zeeshan Hyder, Adv. D. C. Chouhan

For UT of J&K: AG D. C. Raina, AAG Aseem Sawhney and GA Sajad Ashraf

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Indira Banerjee and MR Shah, JJ has directed AIIMS to postpone the Institute of National Importance Combined Admission Test (INI CET) examination by at least a month, after doctors with an MBBS degree, aspiring for admission to the Post Graduate courses for the July 2021 session in the units of AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), PGIMER Chandigarh, JIPMER Puducherry and NIMHANS Bengaluru filed a petition calling AIIMS’ decision to conduct INI CET 2021 on 16th June, 2021, hasty.

It was argued,

“… the hasty decision taken by AIIMS to conduct INI CET 2021 on 16th June, 2021 has seriously prejudiced innumerable aspirants for admission to Post Graduate courses of the institutions of national importance, who are serving in Covid hospitals in various parts of the country. Many of them have been rendering services at Covid Centres located far away from the examination centres for which they have opted.”

The INI CET is being conducted to fill up 850 MD and MS seats in 6 units of AIIMS, PGIMER Chandigarh, JIPMER Puducherry and NIMHANS Bengalure. As per submissions before the Court, about 80,000 doctors with the MBBS degree are expected to take the INI CET. Post Graduate courses of medical colleges, other than those mentioned above are through the NEET-PG, which has been postponed beyond 31st August, 2021.

In such circumstances, it was argued, that,

“It would be extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible for many candidates for the INI CET to reach their examination centres from their places of duty. Many of the doctors are exposed to and are running the risk of contracting Covid 19 and they may have to isolate and/or quarantine themselves. Even otherwise holding the INICET on 16th June, 2021 will result in spread of the virus and increase in Covid 19 cases.”

Hence, considering the current scenario and the prayers by the doctors, the Court was of the opinion that the fixing of the INI CET on 16.06.2021 is arbitrary and discriminatory, more so since other important examinations including Joint Entrance Examinations, Board Examinations etc. have been postponed.

The Court, hence, directed that the INI CET be postponed by at least a month from 16th June, 2021.

[Poulami Mondal v. AIIMS, Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 623/2021, order dated 11.06.2021]


For Petitioner(s): Mr. Sanjay R. Hegde, Sr. Adv.

Mr. Arvind P Datar, Sr. Adv.

Ms. Sonia Mathur, Sr. Adv.

Ms. Pallavi Pratap, AOR

M/S. Dharmaprabhas Law Associates, AOR

Dr. Charu Mathur, AOR

Mr. Chandrashekhar A. Chakalabbi, Adv.

Mr. Awanish Kumar, Adv.

Mr. Shiv Kumar Pandey, adv.

Mr. Anshul Rai, Adv.

Mr. Shikha Bharadwaj, Adv.

Mr. Abhinav Garg, Adv.

Mr. Sanjay Kumar Dubey, Adv

Ms. Tanvi Dubey, Adv.

Mr. Puneet Pathak, Adv.

For Respondent(s): Mr. Dushyant Parashar, AOR

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah, JJ has refused to pass any direction in the petition seeking effective and remedial measures to redress and overcome the financial stress and hardship faced by the borrowers of the country during the second wave of Covid 19 and lockdown.

The Circular of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dated 05.05.2021, by which the Reserve Bank of India has issued Resolution of Covid 19 related stress of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), was put before the Court in support of the petition. It was argued that the Circular does not sufficiently address the hardship of the borrowers.

The Court, however, said,

“Be that as it may, the financial relief and other measures are in the domain of the Government and essentially related to policy matter.”

It is pertinent to note that the 3-judge consisting of both the judges of the present bench, along with R. Subhash Reddy, J had, in a breather to customers in the case relating to waiver of interest on loan during the moratorium period, directed that all steps to implement the decision dated 23.10.2020 of the Government of India, Ministry of Finance be taken so that benefit to the eight categories contemplated in the affidavit can be extended.

Read the full report on the said order here:

COVID-19| Seeking waiver of interest on interest for loan during the moratorium period? SC asks Govt to implement decision to forego compound interest on these 8 categories

The Court, hence, left it to the Union of India and the Reserve Bank of India to consider and take appropriate decision in the matter.

[Vishal Tiwari v. Union of India, Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 541/2021, order dated 11.06.2021]


For Petitioner: Petitioner-in-person

For Respondent: Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG

Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, ASG

Mr. Rajat Nair, Adv.

Mr. Kanu Agrawal, Adv.

Mr. B.V. Balramdas, AOR

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Considering the need for continuous monitoring of the implementation of the schemes in favour of the affected children, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has issued a series of directions after it was submitted before it by amicus curiae Gaurav Agarwal that identification of children who have become orphans or have lost one of their parents during this pandemic does not brook any delay. Immediate relief should follow the identification of such children without any delay.

Data

The information provided by the State Governments/Union Territories on the ‘Bal Swaraj’ Portal upto 05.06.2021 shows that there are 30,071 children who have become orphans or have lost one parent or abandoned. There are 3,621 orphans, 26,176 children who have lost one parent and 274 children who have been abandoned.

Key suggestions

  • the DCPO should meet the child and the guardian immediately after receipt of information and ascertain the willingness of the guardian to take care of the child apart from making an assessment of the immediate needs of the child and the financial condition of the guardian.
  • DCPO should ensure that adequate provision is made for ration, food, medicines and clothing etc. for the child.
  • An amount of Rs.2,000/- per month should be released in favour of the child till CWC passes an order after due inquiry.
  • follow-up with the child at least once a month to ascertain his/her well being.
  • The financial benefit that was announced by Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) to the tune of Rs.2000/- per month per child has to be provided immediately by the DCPOs.
  • There should be continuous monitoring regarding the welfare of the child by the District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) even after the financial order is passed by the CWC. This should be done periodically every three to six months.
  • the affected children should not face a situation of discontinuance of their education. If the affected children are studying in Government schools they should be permitted to continue. In so far as the children who are studying in private schools, the State Governments/Union Territories should take steps and direct the continuance of the children in those schools at least for period of six months by which time some arrangement can be worked out.
  • the protection of property rights of the children, further education of the children including employment opportunities, special care to be taken in respect of the girl child ( to be taken up on the next date of hearing.)

Illegal adoption of affected children

The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to prevent any NGO from collecting funds in the names of the affected children by disclosing their identity and inviting interested persons to adopt them. No adoption of affected children should be permitted contrary to the provisions of the JJ Act, 2015. Invitation to persons for adoption of orphans is contrary to law as no adoption of a child can be permitted without the involvement of CARA.

“Stringent action shall be taken by the State Governments/Union Territories against agencies/individuals who are responsible for indulging in this illegal activity.”

Direction issued

(1) The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to continue identifying the children who have become orphans or lost a parent after March, 2020 either due to Covid-19 or otherwise and provide the data on the website of the NCPCR without any delay. The identification of the affected children can be done through Childline (1098), health officials, Panchayati Raj Institutions, police authorities, NGOs etc.

(2) The DCPU is directed to contact the affected child and his guardian immediately on receipt of information about the death of the parent/parents. Assessment shall be made about the suitability and willingness of the guardian to take care of the child. The DCPU should ensure that adequate provisions are made for ration, food, medicine, clothing etc. for the affected child. Financial assistance to which the disconsolate child is entitled to under the prevailing schemes by the Central Government and the State Governments/Union Territories should be provided without any delay.

(3) The DCPO should furnish his phone number and the name and phone number of the local official who can be contacted by the guardian and the child. There should be a regular follow up by the concerned authorities with the child at least once in a month.

(4) If the DCPO is of the prima facie opinion that the guardian is not suitable to take care of the child, he should produce the child before the CWC immediately.

(5) CWC should provide for the essential needs of the child during the pendency of the inquiry without fail. The inquiry should be completed expeditiously. CWC shall ensure that all financial benefits to which the child is entitled are provided without any delay.

(6) The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to make provisions for continuance of education of the children both in Government as well as in private schools.

(7) The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to take action against those NGOs/individuals who are indulging in illegal adoptions.

(8) Wide publicity should be given to the provisions of the JJ Act, 2015 and the prevailing schemes of the Union of India and the State Governments/Union Territories which would benefit the affected children.

(9) DPCO shall take the assistance of government servants at the Gram Panchayat level to monitor  the welfare of the disconsolate children who are devastated by the catastrophe of losing their parent/parents.

[IN RE CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN CHILDREN PROTECTION HOMES, SMW (C) NO.4 OF 2020, order dated 07.06.2021]


FOR NCPCR Mr. K. M. Nataraj, Ld. ASG, Ms. Swarupama Chaturvedi, AOR, Ms. Indira Bhakar Adv., Ms. Neha Rai, Adv.

Union of India: Mr. Aishwarya Bhati, ASG Mr. Akshay Amritanshu, Adv Mr. B.V. Balram Das, AOR Mr. S.S. Rebello, Adv. Ms. Swati Ghildiyal, Adv. Mr. Prashant Singh B, Adv. Mr. G.S. Makker,Adv. Mr. Raj Bahadur, AOR Mr. Rana Mukherjee, Sr. Adv. Ms. Anitha Shenoy,Sr.Adv. Ms. Srishti Agnihotri, AOR Mr. Abhishek Jebaraj,Adv. Ms. Sanjana Grace Thomas,Adv. Ms. Anmol Gupta,Adv. Mr. Chandratanay Chaube, Adv.

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Kerala High Court: N.Nagaresh, J., upheld the right to practice of homoeopathic practitioners and clarified that the Homeopathy doctors can prescribe adjuvant medicine for Covid-19.

Background

The petitioner, a Homoeopathic Practitioner had sought the issuance of writ of Mandamus directing the State to ensure that the petitioner was not obstructed in any manner from performing his profession. The petitioner had 17 years of experience in treating chronic illnesses including viral diseases. The petitioner had presented research document on HIV Virus treatment in the International AYUSH Conclave, after having selected from among 107 academicians. The petitioner had also claimed to have treated and saved serious Covid-19 patients in foreign countries. However, when he attempted to treat Covid-19 patients in Kerala, he was informed by the State Health Department that action would be taken against him under the Disaster Management Act.

The petitioner contended that when the Supreme Court had already upheld the right of Homoeopathic Practitioners to treat Covid-19 patients in AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homoeo Pharmacy v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 539, invoking provisions of the Disaster Management Act against the petitioner was highly arbitrary and illegal. Hence, the action of the Governmental authorities offended the right of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The State, on the other hand, argued that the Government has approved the action plan of the Homoeo Department for giving Homoeo medicines as prophylactic, however, the Homoeopathic Practitioners should not make any claims regarding effectiveness of particular medicines in curing Covid-19.

Analysis and Findings of the Court

Noticeably, Section 26 of the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 provides that every person whose name is for the time being in force borne on Part I of the Central Register of Homoeopathy, shall be entitled to practice Homoeopathy in any part of India and that the Section 34 of National Commission for Homoeopathy Act, 2020 provides that no person other than a person enrolled in the State Register or the National Register shall be allowed to practice Homoeopathy as a qualified practitioner. Thus, a person whose name is entered in the State Register or Central Register has a right to practice Homoeopathy. The State Medical Protocol issued by Kerala Government stated that Covid-19 affected persons should not be treated by anybody other than the Government and those authorised by the Government. However,  as per the Advisory issued by Ministry of AYUSH there was nothing prohibiting the qualified medical AYUSH practitioners (which term would include Homoeopathy Practitioners also) to prescribe immunity booster mixture or tablets.

On 06-03-2020, the Government of India, Ministry of AYUSH took a system wise approach towards Covid-19 treatment and recommended under the head ‘Symptom Management of Covid-19 like illnesses’, that various medicines which found to be effective in treating flue like illness are Arsenicum Album, Btyonia Alba, Rhus Toxicodendron, Belladonna, Gelsemium, Eupatorium Perfoliatum. All these medicines should be taken in consultation with qualified physicians of AYUSH systems. Further, it had been mentioned that symptom management of Covid-19 like illnesses under sub-head ‘Homoeopathy’ can also be given as add on to conventional care and all these medicines should be taken in consultation with qualified physicians of AYUSH systems.

Subsequently, the Government of Kerala issued a government order approving the Action Plan outlining the homoeopathy strategies for prevention and management of Covid-19 in Kerala. The appended Action Plan provided details of strategy, setting up of communication platform, establishing necessary linkages, preparedness and readiness, implementation of the program and distribution of Homoeopathy Immune Booster. However, it was mentioned in the said Action Plan that the target population for the action plan does not include Covid-19 patients, their contacts or those under quarantine.

Relying on the decision of Supreme Court in AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homoeo Pharmacy’s case wherein the Court had held that “it is clear from the advisory dated 06-03-2020 and the specific stand taken by the Ministry of AYUSH that Homoeopathic Medical Practitioners are constrained to prescribe homoeopathic medicines only as Immunity Booster…what is permissible for Homoeopathic Medical Practitioner in reference to Covid-19 symptomatic and asymptomatic patients is already regulated by the advisories and guidelines”;  the Bench arrived at the following conclusions:

  1. A qualified Homoeopathic Physicians can prescribe and dispense preventive and prophylactic homoeo medicines, for preventing Covid-19.
  2. The Homoeopathic Physicians can resort to Homoeopathy for symptom management of Covid-19 like illnesses.
  3. They may provide Add on interventions to the conventional cases of Covid-19 and prescribe drugs as mentioned in the guidelines but the suggested medicines should be as adjuvant to Standard Management Guidelines in the hospital setting only with the approval of authorities and willingness of the patient/guardian.
  4. Advertisement by Homoeopathic Physicians is prohibited in view of Regulation 6 of the Homoeopathic Practitioners (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Code of Ethics) Regulations, 1982 read with Sections 33 and 24 of the Homoeopathic Central Council Act, 1973.

In view of the above conclusions, the instant petition was disposed of directing the State to ensure that the petitioner was not obstructed in any manner from practising Homoeopathy as per the Guidelines issued by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and judgment of the Supreme Court.[Jayaprasad Karunakaran v. Union of India, WP(C) NO. 11555 OF 2021, decided on 02-06-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. V.T.Madhavanunni And M.S.Vineeth

For Union of India: ASGI P. Vijayakumar

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: The Division Bench of Akil Kureshi, CJ. and S. Talapatra, J., pursuant to their order on 31-05-2021 perused the affidavit submitted by the State administration and framed certain issues after hearing the counsel for the parties.

  • The Court noticed that the Government had accepted their suggestion of publishing vaccination bulletin on daily basis. These details which would now be in public domain and easily accessible to the members of the public would certainly give idea of the precise position of the vaccination progress to the members of the public;

From the date of the bulletin, counsel for the petitioner and amicus curiae Mr Somik Deb pointed out that there was a severe shortage of vaccines for the persons in the age group of 18 to 44 years and very few people in this age group have been vaccinated. The Court held that the disproportionate distribution of vaccines in the age group where there is a severe shortage needs to be addressed by the State administration. Prima facie, such disparity could be on account of severe shortage of doses as compared to the persons eligible to receive and are willing to receive the vaccine and the requirement of online registration. We request the State administration to address this issue and to ensure that the vaccine doses whenever available for such age group are not monopolized by any region or class of citizens and that there is a more equitable distribution of such vaccines.

  • In the second issue the Court dealt with the policy of the Government of allowing one relative per patient in Covid wards who can become potential carrier of the virus. The Court expected that the administration would take all necessary precautions while allowing any relative of the patient to enter the Covid ward.[Court on its own motion v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 303, decided on 04-06-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre & Avinash G. Gharote, JJ. addressed various Mucormycosis related issues prevalent in Maharashtra.  The Bench warned,

“This is a sort of war like situation for Maharashtra and in particular city of Nagpur, which calls for rapid response and mighty one. We hope that these entreaties would be positively answered by the Central Government and if not, further loss of lives of a few more patients, unfortunate as it may be, may be a fait accompli.”

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had submitted a report before the Court pertaining to prevalence and spread of fungal infections. It not only highlighted types of fungal infections but also the causes, symptoms, precautions, which the Bench opined that if considered seriously and implemented by all the hospitals presently treating the Covid patients and also patients with fungal infections, there will be a considerable reduction in prevalence and spread of the fungal infections.

Shortage of Drugs

Noticing that raw materials used for manufacturing drugs to cure Mucormycosis which are Amphotericin B (Lipid Complex) and Amphotericin (Liposomal) are imported for their bigger part, the Bench stated that the State Government, as well as the Central Government, need to take the issue of shortage of drugs available for treating the fungal infections seriously. The Bench reminded the governments,

“After all, such invaders; fungii are the invaders; require speedy action and they do not wait for anybody to respond to them. It’s not the case that once they raid a house i.e. body of the patient, they would lie dormant and wait for the house owner to make his preparations and then have a word or duel of resistance with them. The response to be given in such situations is akin to a response given in a war like situation.”

Believing that unless quick action is taken, destruction is inevitable, the Bench directed the Central and the State Government to take immediate steps for increasing the production capacity of Indian manufacturers involved in producing these drugs and if needed, press the entire State machinery into service for increasing of the production capacity.

Reportedly, number of patients suffering from Mucormycosis in Nagpur alone was 1584 on 29-05-2021 and out of these patients 830 patients had been operated on.  The data further showed that out of 1584 patients, eye exenteration had taken place in 74 cases and so far 69 patients had succumbed to Mucormycosis. The Bench expressed alarm over the situation and remarked that in Nagpur city the situation is no longer a rare fungal infection, that it has already assumed a form of an epidemic. Therefore, the Bench reiterated that the Central Government and State Government, and additionally, Indian Society in general need start taking effective measures for restricting the spread of fungal infections. These measures would be of maintaining of individual cleanliness and hygiene through improvement of immunity levels by remaining on good diet and also keeping contributing ailments like Hyperglycemia, diabetes and the like under control to making available in sufficient quantities drugs required for treating these infections.

Deficit Allocation of Drugs to Maharashtra

Raising concerns on inefficient method of drug allocations, the Bench expressed concerns that the State of Maharashtra and in particular city of Nagpur having very high prevalence of Mucormycosis infection remain in crying state for Amphotericin B and the patients were not getting enough number of vials per day for the treatment because of deficit allocation and short supply to State of Maharashtra; due to which many patients had lost organs of their body while others had even lost their eyes and a sizable number of patients were dead. Hence, the Bench reiterated that the situation could be improved by sensible allocation of Amphotericin B to the State of Maharashtra.

“But, the steps that it (Central Government) had to take or it must take, considering the fundamental duty of the State and also the concept of welfare State in the Directive Principles of State Policy, its response appears to be not on the expected lines.”

Import of Raw Material

Some public spirited importers from Nagpur who had forward to extend their helping hands had highlighted their problem in importing of the raw-material required for manufacturing of the required drugs. Noticing that major hurdles that these interested importers were facing were in respect of the delay occurring at the level of Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in granting registration to the private players, the Bench directed the Central government to actively consider the suggestion of interested importers that procedure for obtaining registration of DCGI for making import of the drugs or raw material should be done away with atleast during the pandemic and the Authority to grant permission for import of the drugs and/or raw material for drugs be delegated to the Food and Drugs Administration of individual States.

In the backdrop of above, the Bench directed the Divisional Commissioner, Collector and Commission of Nagpur to extend all the help to make available the requisite man power and paraphernalia for increasing the check-ups and survey of all the hospitals in Nagpur city in order to find out any deficiency, lacunae, and other incidental factors which contribute to spread of fungal infections. The State government was also directed to invoke relevant provisions of Section 136, Companies Act, 2013 for dealing with erring companies which are unwilling, defaulting and non-responsive regarding their CSR and are reluctant to make contributions at this hour of need.[Court on its own motion v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 790, order dated 02-06-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

Amicus Curiae: S.P.Bhandarkar

For Union of India: ASGI U.M.Aurangabadkar with Adv.Santok Singh Sokhi and Adv. Deshmukh
For Respondents: GP. Ketki Joshi Addl. GP D.P. Thakare and AGP N.S. Rao

For Respondent 4 and 10: Adv. S.M.Puranik and Adv. B.G.Kulkarni, respectively

For MADC:  Adv. C.S.Samundra

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: Addressing the matter of dysfunctional ventilators supplied through PM Cares Fund, the Division Bench of Ravindra V. Ghuge and B. U. Debadwar, JJ., remarked,

“We would not permit experimentation of the ventilators which have undergone major repairs, in treating the patients, since this would be causing a risk/health hazard to the patients and unfortunately, the use of such ventilators may cause loss of life.”

Faulty Ventilators

Observing the report pertaining to the special meeting held in the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Aurangabad for conducting an analysis of installation, commissioning and operation of ventilators provided to the State by the Central Government for COVID-19 management, the Bench reached to the findings that:

  1. The ventilators had suffered continuous break down even after repairs;
  2. Desaturation, water drain issue, UI not proper, frequent oxygen sensor failure, water drain failure and defective user interface were some of the defects;
  3. There is a sufficient stock of consumables with the hospitals;
  4. The hospital has 269 trained personnel to operate the ventilators;
  5. Training material/User Manuals had been provided to the hospital at the time of the deployment of the ventilators;
  6. The personnel operating the ventilators were found to be aware of the functioning and operations of the said ventilators;
  7. Amongst the 21 persons who participated in the said inspection and analysis, were the representatives of the manufacture, the procurement agency HLL, CDSCO representatives, DGHS/AIIMS Nagpur and two more representatives of the manufacturer.

The ASGI had submitted before the Court that two senior Doctors, each from the Ram Manohar Lohiya Hospital and the Safdarjang Hospital would be visiting GMCH to carry out extensive inspection of the ventilators at issue and if the ventilators are found to be dysfunctional after inspection/repairs, the manufacturer would be held liable and would be made to replace defective ventilators. The ASGI further contended that no casualty would occur since these ventilators would not be made operational in the treatment of the patients until the team of the doctors visiting GMCH Aurangabad and representatives of the manufacturer ensure that the ventilators are upto desirable operational standards.

Considering the above, the Bench directed Union of India to adopt firm approach with the manufacturer in the event of a supply of defective ventilators and that if found necessary, the Bench may direct returning of the defective ventilators. The Bench clarified that it would be the responsibility of the Union of India to ensure that the defective ventilators are replaced with new functional ventilators. The Bench further made it clear that it would not permit experimentation of the ventilators which had undergone major repairs, in treating the patients as that might risk the life of the patients.

Ambulance Operators over Charging Fare

On the submission of State government that the rate chart had been affixed on every such ambulance by the RTO ensuring that those ambulances which had violated the conditions imposed as regards the fare to be charged had been penalized; the Bench directed that the competent committee deal with the offenders on day-to-day basis. The Bench further directed the RTO to carry out surprise checks of such ambulance vehicles and in the event of noticing any ambulance operator having torn/ripped off the fare chart affixed on the vehicles, such a vehicle can be impounded and heavy penalty may be imposed before granting permission to commission the said vehicle.[Registrar (Judicial) v. Union of India,  2021 SCC OnLine Bom 790, Order dated 02-06-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court by:

Amicus Curiae: Satyajit S. Bora
For State of Maharashtra: Chief PP D. R. Kale
For Union of India: ASGI Ajay G. Talhar
For the respondent 8: Adv. S. G. Chapalgaonkar
For the respondent 22: Adv. K. N. Lokhande
For the respondent 25: Adv. R. K. Ingole

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of L. Narayana Swamy and Anoop Chitkara JJ., took stock of the situation and laid necessary directions.

The present petition has been filed as the Government of India has directed the State Governments to convert PHCs into 30 bedded ICU hospitals with oxygen facilities and therefore State Government is supposed to submit what steps have been taken to convert these PHCs into ICU hospitals with oxygen facilities.

The Court thus directed “the State Government to make submission as to what steps the State Government has taken to convert these PHCs into ICU hospitals with oxygen facilities.”

The Court further taking stock of the situation regarding RTPCR tests in the State observed if the RTPCR tests are not conducted in war footing i.e. more than twenty to thirty thousand per day then the fatalities will proportionately go higher and by the time the RTPCR test is conducted, the incubation period will exceed and that may go out of control of the Government. The Court held “the Government has again to accelerate its work in combating the COVID-19.”

On submission made by Mr. Ajay Vaidya that some makeshift hospitals with oxygen facilities having 1000 beds have been opened and thus the Court directed “decentralized opening of ICU beds by converting PHCs is of paramount importance.”

Ms. Sneh Bhimta submitted about non-availability of ICU beds in Kullu and Lahul & Spiti, the Court directed “State Government to make submission as to whether ICU beds are provided to the COVID patients in both the aforesaid areas.”[Court on its Own Motion v. State of HP, 2021 SCC OnLine HP 4683, decided on 25-05-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances

Counsel for Petitioner: Mr. B.N. Misra and Ms. Vandana Misra

Counsel for Union: Mr. Balram Sharma

Counsel for State: Mr.Ajay Vaidya

Counsel for the intervener: Mr.Bimal Gupta and Ms. Sneh Bhimta and Ms.Yogesh K. Chandel

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has expressed serious concerns on the ability of the marginalized members of society between the ages of 18-44 years to avail COVID-19 vaccination, exclusively through a digital portal in the face of a digital divide and has said,

“A vaccination policy exclusively relying on a digital portal for vaccinating a significant population of this country between the ages of 18-44 years would be unable to meet its target of universal immunization owing to such a digital divide. It is the marginalized sections of the society who would bear the brunt of this accessibility barrier. This could have serious implications on the fundamental right to equality and the right to health of persons within the above age group.”

CoWIN Portal and how it works

According to the Union of India,

(i) The CoWIN portal enables one person to register 4 persons using the same mobile number;

(ii) All gram panchayats in the country have Common Service Centres which can effectively enable people residing in rural areas to register online for the vaccination;

(iii) Citizens who do not have access to digital resources could take help from family, friends, NGOs and CSCs;

(iv) Walk-ins cannot be permitted due to the scarcity of vaccines and fears of over-crowding at centres. The online registration requirement counters this fear and also effectively monitors the administration of the second dose. The policy may be re-considered subsequently when more vaccines are available;

(v) Identity proofs are required for the purpose of determining age and keeping a track of persons who are due for the second dose. However, in recognizing the issues arising with the insistence of one of the seven prescribed photo-ID proofs, the Central Government issued an SoP dated 23 April 2021 which enables bulk registration of certain identifiable groups, such as homeless persons, who would be identified and registered by the District Immunization Task Force; and

The Centre clarified that walk-in vaccination facilities will continue for persons over the age of 45 years in separate, designated vaccination centres. This is because vaccinations have been underway for this age group for a while and overcrowding has not been experienced so far.

Data, Drawbacks, and the Digital Divide

In the order, where the Court sought clarification from the Centre on various issues relating to the COVID-19 Vaccination policy, it relied on vaiours reports and surveys that highlighted that:

  • Around 4% of the rural households and 23% of the urban households possessed a computer. In the age group of 15-29 years, around 24% in rural households and 56% in urban areas were able to operate a computer; and
  • Nearly 24% of the households in the country had internet access during the survey year 2017-18. The proportion was 15% in rural households and 42% in urban households. Around 35% of persons in the age group of 15-29 years reported use of internet during the 30 days prior to the date of survey. The proportions were 25% in rural areas and 58% in urban areas.
  • Out of the total population of 1.3 billion, only 578 million people in India (less than 50%) have subscription to wireless data services. The wireless tele density in rural areas is 57.13% as compared to 155.49% in urban areas as on 31 March 2019. The report stated that: “[this] reflects the rural-urban divide in terms of telecom services‟ penetration. Since, the number of wireless data subscribers are less than 50% of the total wireless access subscribers, the number of wireless data subscribers in rural areas would be much lower”.
  • In a few Indian States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam the tele density is less than 75%; and
  • The monthly income of persons living below the poverty line in urban areas and rural areas is Rs 1316 and Rs 896, respectively. However, to access internet data services, a minimum tariff plan would cost around Rs 49, which includes 1 GB data every 28 days. This would constitute 4-5% of the month‟s income of such persons accessing data. As such, the report notes that this would bear a considerable cost for persons living below the poverty line.
  • While there are 2,53,134 Gram Panchayats in India, as on 31 March 2020 only 2,40,792 Gram Panchayats are covered with at least one registered Common Service Centres. Hence, approximately 13,000 Gram Panchayats in India do not have a Common Service Centres.
  • The CoWIN platform is not accessible to persons with visual disabilities. The website suffers from certain accessibility barriers. These include:

(i) Audio or text captcha is not available;

(ii) The seven filters, which inter alia, include age group, name of vaccine and whether the vaccine is paid or free, are not designed accessibly. This issue can be addressed by creation of a drop-down list;

(iii) While visually challenged persons can determine the number of available vaccine slots, one cannot find out the day those slots correspond to. This can be resolved by ensuring that table headers correspond to associated cells;

(iv) Keyboard support for navigating the website is absent;

(v) Adequate time should be given to disabled users to schedule their appointment without the possibility of being automatically logged off; and

(vi) Accessibility protocols, such as use of appropriate colour contrasts, should be adhered to

“… there exists a digital divide in India, particularly between the rural and urban areas. The extent of the advances made in improving digital literacy and digital access falls short of penetrating the majority of the population in the country. Serious issues of the availability of bandwidth and connectivity pose further challenges to digital penetration.”

Clarifications sought from the Government:

“It may not be feasible to require the majority of our population to rely on friends/NGOs for digital registrations over CoWIN, when even the digitally literate are finding it hard to procure vaccination slots.”

  • The issue of over-crowding may also arise at CSCs in rural areas where people would have to visit constantly in hope of a vaccine slot opening up.
  • Certain vaccination centres may be earmarked for on-site registrations for the population aged between 18-44 years without the existing conditions prescribed in the circular dated 24 May 2021, potentially with a view to prioritize those with co-morbidities/disabilities/other socio-economic vulnerabilities. Alternatively, whether specific daily quotas may be introduced for on-site registration at each centre or specific centres.
  • This policy may not allay the issue of hesitancy which may arise from approaching a State authority (such as the District Immunization Task Force) to obtain registration for the vaccination. Whether on-site registration with selfattestation of age to ensure widespread vaccination can be provided.
  • The CoWIN platform and other IT applications like Aarogya Setu should be made available in regional languages. The timeline for ensuring the availability of the platform in multiple regional languages.
  • Conducting a disability audit for the CoWIN website and other IT application like Aarogya Setu to ensure that they are accessible to persons with disabilities.

[In re: Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 411, decided on 31.05.2021]


Appearances before the Court

Mr Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General

Mr Jaideep Gupta and Ms Meenakshi Arora, learned Senior counsel and Amici

ALSO READ

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy| Supreme Court seeks clarifications from Centre on these five issues

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: The Division Bench of Songkhupchung Serto and S. Hukato Swu, JJ., directed the State government to verify whether the family has sufficient rooms and other facilities in the house where the infected person can be isolated before directing a person to stay under home isolation. The Bench stated,

“Taking into account the economic status of the people by and large it may be that only few privilege people who belong to higher economic strata may have the facilities for such isolation in their own homes.”

Issues before the Bench

On 05-05-2021, the instant PIL was taken up on Suo Moto and the Bench had directed the State to file an affidavit on the following 6 issues;

  1. A district wise list of number of infected persons as per category such as critical, serious, mild etc.
  2. Number of hospital beds category wise i.e. ventilator facilities with oxygen facilities etc. made available across the State/district
  3. Number of manpower made available district wise specially for treatment of Covid persons
  4. Contingency plans
  5. Availability of oxygen, medicine district wise
  6. How many persons have been given vaccine and what is the plan to reach everyone in the State.

Home Isolation

Noticing the disturbing trend on the ever-increasing number of Covid-19 infected persons especially, in the rural areas, the Bench stated that during the first wave of pandemic the State Government had set up quarantine centers for isolation of Covid positive populace; even the villagers had set up such centers on their own, but no such facilities were made available in the second wave. Instead, home isolation for Covid positive persons had been put to practice by and large. However, said the Bench, taking into account the economic status of the people it may be that only few privilege people who belong to higher economic strata may have the facilities for such isolation in their own homes. Therefore, the Bench directed the government that before directing a person to stay under home isolation, the Surveillance teams constituted by the Government should first see/verify whether the family has sufficient rooms and other facilities in the house where the infected person can be isolated. The surveillance team was directed to stick a notice on the gate of the house stating that the inmate(s) of the house are under isolation to avoid visiting of people. The Surveillance team was also directed to ensure that none of the inmates of such house venture out till directed time and their medical and other needs should be met by the Government.

The Bench directed the State to designate places for isolation for those families who have no facilities for home isolation. It was further directed that the State shall maintain proper sanitization and high standard of hygiene at such centers and all medical needs of the patients should be met.

Covid Testing

Regarding Covid testing, the Bench stated that testing is very important in our fight with the pandemic. Unless people are tested, there is no way one can know whether they had been infected with the virus or not. Opining that the earlier the infected persons are identified further spread of the virus by such persons can be prevented, the Bench stated,

Since we are in the midst of the virus spreading far and wide even in the rural areas, we are of the view that fees should not be charged even from persons who come on their own for testing.

Observing the number of testing on daily basis in the state and noticing that RT-PCR testing facilities were available only at 3 places i.e. at Dimapur, Kohima and Tuensang, the Bench directed the State to ramp-up testing and explore feasibility of establishing testing facilities even at other strategic places.

Vaccination

On the issue of vaccination, the Bench observed that as per the affidavit so far 1,81,443 persons (45+ years of age inclusive of frontline and health workers) had been vaccinated as on 11-05-2021, and out of that 51,650 had been given 2nd dose. The Bench stated,

“In a State where the population is 22.8 lakhs the vaccination done so far is precious too little and it is still too far from the target. Therefore, while not belittling the efforts made by the State Government and all those who are working day and night, we are constraint to urge that the vaccine be made available at the earliest and vaccination drive also be done on war footing so that people of the State can be vaccinated at the earliest.”

Hence, the Bench directed the State to increase fixed days for vaccination in a week for the age group of 18 to 44 years to make the vaccine available to those who come forward at the earliest. Further, noticing the reluctance of people to take vaccine, the Bench directed the State to take appropriate steps in coordination with Doordarshan, All India Radio and other print and digital media to spread awareness so that any fear or reservation that is in the mind of the people would be removed and the vaccination drive would go on smoothly and the same is completed at the earliest.

Other Directions

Additionally, the Bench issued the following directions:

  1. State should make special arrangements to reach out to the aged and physically challenged persons with the vaccine.
  2. Noticing the CHC had no doctors inspite of demand of the people, the Bench directed State to do everything at their command and post east some Doctors at the CHC concerned and post the required number of Doctors and other man powers within a period of 5 days.
  3. The required equipments, medicines and other requirements should be made available in all the Government hospitals/PHCs/CHCs in the districts.
  4. On the issue of crematoriums charging exorbitantly high for burials for Covid affected bodies, the Bend directed the government to take the burden at least for those who cannot afford. The government was also directed to take appropriate action to keep a check on burial charges.

[Kohima v. State of Nagaland, In re.,  2021 SCC OnLine Gau 1170, order dated 24-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief. 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has, in a bid to understand the vaccination policy for COVID-19, has sought clarification from the Central Government on various aspects enumerated below. While doing so, the Court clarified that,

“This Court is presently assuming a dialogic jurisdiction where various stakeholders are provided a forum to raise constitutional grievances with respect to the management of the pandemic. Hence, this Court would, under the auspices of an open court judicial process, conduct deliberations with the executive where justifications for existing policies would be elicited and evaluated to assess whether they survive constitutional scrutiny.”

Vaccine Procurement and Distribution among Different Categories of the Population

Asking UoI to undertake a fresh review of its vaccination policy, the Court has sought clarification on the following:

  • The roadmap of projected availability of vaccines till 31 December 2021;
  • The preparedness with respect to specific needs of children in the event of a third wave of the pandemic in terms of medical infrastructure, vaccination trials and regulatory approval, and compatible drugs;
  • Whether under the policy of the UoI, it is permissible for State/UT Governments or individual local bodies to access vaccine supplies of foreign manufacturers;
  • The number of crematorium workers vaccinated in phase 1. A targeted drive can be conducted for vaccination of the remaining crematorium workers;
  • The State/UT Governments are diverting the vaccines (procured by them at a higher price than Central Government) for the persons in the age group of 18- 44 years to vaccinate persons above 45 years of age, due to a shortage of vaccines being supplied by the Central Government. The manner in which the Central Government will factor this quantity and price differential into their subsequent allocation and disbursal of vaccines to States/UTs for the persons above 45 years of age; and
  • The mechanism for redistribution, if the 25:25 quota in a particular State/UT is not picked up by the State/UT Government or the private hospitals.

Effects of Vaccination by Private Hospitals under the Liberalized Vaccination Policy

“… we are not opposed to the involvement of private hospitals in the vaccination drive. Private health care institutions have an important role as well. The UoI has correctly noted in its affidavit that these hospitals will reduce the burden on government facilities. This was also happening earlier for the vaccination of those above 45 years of age, where the Central Government was providing these hospitals with vaccines and they were allowed to charge patients a nominal fee (Rs 250). However, the issue is about the effect of privatizing 50% of all vaccines available for the 18-44 age group.”

  • The manner in which Central Government will monitor the disbursal of vaccines to private hospitals, specifically those who have hospital chains pan India. Further, whether (i) private hospitals are liable to disburse vaccines pro rata the population of States/UTs; and (ii) the mechanism to determine if private players are genuinely administering the lifted quota in that State/UT alone. The UoI shall place on record any written policy in relation to this.
  • Whether the Central Government conducted a “means-test” of the demographic of a State/UT to assert that 50% of the population in the 18-44 age group would be able to afford the vaccine. If not, the rationale for private hospitals being provided an equal quota for procurement as the State/UT Governments.
  • The manner in which the Centre and States/UTs shall ensure an equitable distribution of vaccines across sections of the society, and how this factors into the rationale of equal apportionment between State/UT Governments and private hospitals.
  • The nature of the intervention with respect to the final, end-user price that is being charged by private hospitals, especially when a cap on procurement by the private hospitals has been set.

Basis and Impact of Differential Pricing

If the Central Government’s unique monopolistic buyer position is the only reason for it receiving vaccines at a much lower rate from manufacturers, it is important for us to examine the rationality of the existing Liberalized Vaccination Policy against Article 14 of the Constitution, since it could place severe burdens, particularly on States/UTs suffering from financial distress.”

While the Court commended the co-operative efforts of the UoI and the private manufacturers in developing and distributing vaccines which are critical to mitigate the pandemic, it sought clarifications on the process of development and augmentation of vaccine production and its pricing for States/UTs and private hospitals.

  • Since the Central Government has financed (officially, Rs 35 crores to BBIL and Rs 11 crore to SII for phase 3 clinical trials) and facilitated the production (or augmentation of production) of these vaccines through concessions or otherwise, it may not be accurate to state that the private entities have alone borne the risk and cost of manufacture. Additionally, the Central Government would have minimized the risks of the manufacturers by granting Emergency Use Authorization to the vaccines, which should factor into its pricing.
  • The manner in which public financing is reflected in the procurement price for the Central Government, which is significantly lower than price for the State/UT Governments and private hospitals. Given that the R&D cost and IP have either been shared between the Central Government and the private manufacturer (in case of Covaxin) or the manufacturer has not invested in R&D of the vaccine (in case of Covishield), the manner in which the pricing of vaccines has been arrived at, with the Central Government refusing to intervene statutorily. The justification for intervening in pre-fixing procurement prices and quantities for States/UTs and private hospitals, but not imposing statutory price ceilings.
  • Comparison between the prices of vaccines being made available in India, to their prices internationally.
  • Whether ICMR/BBIL formally invited contracts for voluntary licensing and if so, whether they have they received viable offers. The manner in which the UoI is independently trying to assist manufacturers for developing BSL3 labs which are essential for Covaxin production.

Vaccine Logistics

  • The manner in which cold storage equipment capacity is being balanced between the Central and State/UT Governments. The manner in which the States/UTs are managing the logistical burden for vaccinating persons aged between 18-44 years, along with persons aged over 45 years.
  • Whether cold storage facilities in India have increased for the COVID-19 vaccination drive; the present numbers, and comparison with the numbers prior to March 2020;
  • Whether the cold storage equipment is indigenously manufactured or is imported. If it is imported, the steps which have been taken to start indigenous manufacturing.
  • The steps being taken to improve the cold storage management for vaccines which may require lower temperature to be stored, compared to the ones which currently have approval in India.

Digital divide

“… there exists a digital divide in India, particularly between the rural and urban areas. The extent of the advances made in improving digital literacy and digital access falls short of penetrating the majority of the population in the country. Serious issues of the availability of bandwidth and connectivity pose further challenges to digital penetration. A vaccination policy exclusively relying on a digital portal for vaccinating a significant population of this country between the ages of 18-44 years would be unable to meet its target of universal immunization owing to such a digital divide. It is the marginalized sections of the society who would bear the brunt of this accessibility barrier. This could have serious implications on the fundamental right to equality and the right to health of persons within the above age group.”

  • It may not be feasible to require the majority of our population to rely on friends/NGOs for digital registrations over CoWIN, when even the digitally literate are finding it hard to procure vaccination slots.
  • The issue of over-crowding may also arise at CSCs in rural areas where people would have to visit constantly in hope of a vaccine slot opening up.
  • Certain vaccination centres may be earmarked for on-site registrations for the population aged between 18-44 years without the existing conditions prescribed in the circular dated 24 May 2021, potentially with a view to prioritize those with co-morbidities/disabilities/other socio-economic vulnerabilities. Alternatively, whether specific daily quotas may be introduced for on-site registration at each centre or specific centres.
  • This policy may not allay the issue of hesitancy which may arise from approaching a State authority (such as the District Immunization Task Force) to obtain registration for the vaccination. Whether on-site registration with selfattestation of age to ensure widespread vaccination can be provided.
  • The CoWIN platform and other IT applications like Aarogya Setu should be made available in regional languages. The timeline for ensuring the availability of the platform in multiple regional languages.
  • Conducting a disability audit for the CoWIN website and other IT application like Aarogya Setu to ensure that they are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Final directions

The Court directed UoI to file an affidavit, with each of the abovementioned issues responded to individually and no issue missed out.

The affidavit should also provide the following information:

  • The data on the percentage of population that has been vaccinated (with one dose and both doses), as against eligible persons in the first three phases of the vaccination drive. This shall include data pertaining to the percentage of rural population as well as the percentage of urban population so vaccinated;
  • The complete data on the Central Government‟s purchase history of all the COVID-19 vaccines till date (Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V). The data should clarify: (a) the dates of all procurement orders placed by the Central Government for all 3 vaccines; (b) the quantity of vaccines ordered as on each date; and (c) the projected date of supply; and
  • An outline for how and when the Central Government seeks to vaccinate the remaining population in phases 1, 2 and 3.
  • The steps being taken by the Central Government to ensure drug availability for mucormycosis.

The affidavit is to be filed within 2 weeks.

[In re: Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 411, decided on 31.05.2021]


Appearances before the Court

Mr Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General

Mr Jaideep Gupta and Ms Meenakshi Arora, learned Senior counsel and Amici

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Opining that extreme technicality in times of pandemic is deplorable and may lead to fatalities, the Division Bench of Jitendra Chauhan and Vivek Puri, JJ., allowed the petitioner to import the ventilators without further delay.

Noticing the urgency of the matter and the fact that the instant petition was filed on 15-06-2020 yet the grievance of the petitioner had not been addressed by the authorities, the Bench opined that,

“This extreme technicality in difficult times of Covid-19 pandemic is highly deplorable. In fact, the State ought to have facilitated import of the ventilators. Thousands of people, who are lying admitted, are not getting oxygen or ventilators, which is very vital for the treatment of Covid patients.”

The Bench stated that the oxygen and ICUs are required here and now. Any delay by the administration in providing the ventilators would definitely result into fatalities. In the circumstances, when the nation is witnessing huge number of deaths everyday and certain deaths had happened for want of ventilators, the denial of permission to import the ventilators by the administration was not in the interest of the patients. Hence, the Bench ordered that the import of ventilators in question be allowed without further delay if the same carry certification from the manufacturer.

However, in the larger interest of the patients and to ensure that the ventilators received are as per the specifications prescribed by the competent authority, the Bench directed the petitioner to inform within 24 hours after their receipt to the competent authority to inspect the same with regard to quality thereof. On receipt of such information, the competent authority was directed to depute official concerned to determine the factum that the ventilators are fit to be utilized. The Bench added, if the ventilators are found to be deficient as per the specifications laid down by the Union Government, it shall not be put to use. Further, the petitioner was directed to pay all duties admissible on such goods and to use the same only after the certification by the competent authority.[S.B. Medical Systems v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine P&H 1066, Order Dated 28-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. Sudhir Malhotra

For Union of India: ASGI SP Jain with Sr.Adv. Dheeraj Jain

For Respondent 4: Adv. Anshuman Chopra

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ has stayed the Delhi High Court’s order holding the levy of IGST on oxygen concentrators imported as gifts for personal use violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The Ministry of Finance had, through Attorney General K K Venugopal, had argued that on 28 May 2021, at the Forty-Third meeting of the GST Council, a decision was taken to constitute a Group of Ministers to scrutinize the need for “further relief to Covid-19 related individual items immediately”. The Group of Ministers is to submit its report by 8 June 2021.

“… the judgment of the High Court trenches upon a pure issue of policy.”

It was further argued that the exemption which has been granted in respect of the concentrators which are imported by the State or its agencies falls in a clearly distinct classification.

Issuing notice returnable after 4 weeks, the Court directed,

“Till the next date of listing, there shall be a stay of the operation of the impugned judgment and order of the High Court dated 21 May 2021.”

[Ministry of Finance v. Gurcharan Singh, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No.7226/2021, order dated 01.06.2021]


Also read our full report on the Delhi High Court’s order dated May 21, 2021:

Del HC | “I can’t breathe”; HC calls oxygen shortage a ‘George Floyd moment for the citizens’; holds imposition of IGST on oxygen concentrators imported by individuals, unconstitutional

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Gauhati High Court: The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ. and Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., took up a petition filed in the nature of PIL; concern raised was the present condition of sex workers in Assam who, according to the petitioner in most cases, were on the verge of starvation, considering the strange and difficult times of the present COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its second wave.

Counsel for the petitioner, Ms D Ghosh submitted before the Court an order passed by the Supreme Court in Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal, Criminal Appeal No. 135 of 2010, dated- 29-09-2020 where certain directions were given regarding relief and aid to be given to sex workers during the present COVID-19 pandemic. The petitioner had moved an impleadment application in compliance of this Court’s order on 27-05-2021 for impleading the Union of India, represented by the Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development as well as National AIDS Control Organization, represented by Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, as respondent.

The court allowed the impleadment application.

Mr R.K.D. Choudhury, Assistant Solicitor General of India was given directions to apprise the Court as to how the National AIDS Control Organization through the Assam State AIDS Control Society will give relief to the sex workers in Assam during the present pandemic, and how will the sex workers be identified. Mr R. Dhar, Senior Government Advocate, Assam was also asked to obtain necessary instructions in the matter.

On the urge of the counsel for the petitioner an interim mandamus was issued directing the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar as well as the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Cachar to immediately provide ration to sex workers and their family members in Cachar who were struggling in the current situation.[Debajit Gupta v. State of Assam, 2021 SCC OnLine Gau 1169, decided on 28-05-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ., and Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., addressed the issues relating to situation under the Covid-19 pandemic in the Tea Gardens of Assam and conditioner of workers in these Tea Gardens.

The petitioner submitted before the Court that there are about 800 Tea Gardens and 434 Tea Estates in Assam. The concern of the petitioner was that the Guidelines of the Government of India relating to management of COVID management were not being followed in these Tea Gardens and the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 and the Rules framed therein were also not being followed inasmuch as the COVID Care Centres within the Tea Gardens were taking care of only asymptomatic patients. The petitioner had raised other concerns as well, particularly, need for creation of Post COVID Clinic for treatment of patients, who had suffered from COVID and need to be advised on various aspects after their recovery.

On the other hand, the counsel for the state, Mr. D. Saikia argued that the Government had been conscious of the health of workers in these Tea Gardens and out of 800 Tea Gardens, vaccination had already started in 208 of these Tea Gardens, out of which 28000 workers had been vaccinated and out of these 2000 had also received their second dose. The counsel further submitted other figures showing that the situation is not as alarming as is being made out.

In the light of above the Bench directed the State to submit a written reply showing as to whether test are being done and what kind of test is being done, for determination of COVID-19 infection. Regarding the Mobile Medical Units (MMU) and their use in these Tea Gardens, the Bench said,

We have absolutely no doubt that since the Government already has the resources, these Mobile Medical Units must be put in use for testing and other purposes in the Tea Gardens as well, if not already being done.”

[Anjan Nagg V. Union Of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Gau 1105, decided on 24-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Appearance before the Court by:

Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. W. Sharma
Counsel for the Respondent: Asstt.S.G.I

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Ravindra V. Ghuge and B. U. Debadwar, JJ., addressed the issue of dysfunctional ventilators supplied through PM Cares Fund. The Bench remarked,

We find the above situation as regards the dysfunctional ventilators supplied through the PM Cares Fund, to be quite serious. We, therefore, call upon the learned ASGI to state, as to what action would the Union of India initiate in these circumstances.

MUCORMYCOSIS TREATMENT

The State had submitted before the Court that about 1000 hospitals were empanelled in two schemes namely, ‘MJPJAY’ and ‘PMJAY’for treating patients. Out of these 1000 hospitals, 131 were specifically identified as being appropriate facilities for treating Mucormycosis treatment free of cost. It was also submitted that non-governmental hospitals which were amongst these 131 hospitals would be prohibited from charging as per their normal rates while treating patients for Mucormycosis considering the decision of the Government to extend free treatment in such facilities to all the residents of Maharashtra. Further, those private hospitals which were not empanelled under the said schemes would not be covered by the Government Resolution and if any Mucormycosis patient desires to approach a hospital which is not empanelled under the said two schemes, he would have to pay the charges as per the bills raised by such private hospitals.

P. M. CARES FUND VENTILATORS

Insofar as the 150 ventilators received through the PM Cares Fund were concerned, the State government indicated that a company by name, Jyoti CNC had manufactured the said 150 ventilators with the model name ‘Dhaman III’. It was highlighted before the Court that the GMCH had deployed 17 ventilators of which 6 were flawed and was likely to impact the treatment process of the patients. Two extremely serious flaws pertaining to ‘no in-let O2 pressure’ display and ‘patient becoming hypoxic’when on ventilator were noticed which could be life threatening.

It was further demonstrated that 41 ventilators were allotted to 5 private hospitals with the rider that they would not claim ventilators charges from the patients who used them but not a single ventilator was functional and the hospitals had declined to utilise them as a serious threat to the life of the patients exists. Similarly, 37 ventilators available with the GMCH had yet not been un-boxed as the Dean of the GMCH decided not to un-box the remaining 37 ventilators as 113 ventilators which had been put to use suffer from malfunctioning. It was clarified that, on the other hand all the 64 ventilators supplied by several Industrial Establishments were perfectly operational. Considering the above mentioned, the Bench remarked,

We find a serious issue before us as regards the defective functioning of the ventilators. Except the 37 ventilators which are yet to be un-boxed, 113 ventilators put to use are found to be defective.

Noticing some of the politicians have started visiting the Government Medical College and Hospital to find out whether the ventilators are functioning properly or not and some of the politicians have declared that all the ventilators are in good working conditions and some have stated that as the ventilators were lying idle, they have become dysfunctional. Opining that political colour should not be attached to the issue of dysfunctional ventilators as it would cause more botheration to the medical faculty than render assistance, the Bench remarked,

We express our displeasure as regards such indulgence by the people’s representatives. Contrary statements are being issued by the politicians which we find distasteful as some politicians have visited the hospital, posing as if they have the knowledge and the expertise to inspect the ventilators and recommend correctional steps.

In the above backdrop, holding that the situation as regard to the dysfunctional ventilators supplied through the PM Cares Fund was quite serious, the Bench asked the ASGI to state as to what action would the Union of India initiate in these circumstances and what remedial steps would it take.

[Registrar (Judicial) v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 751, Order dated 25-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Appearance before the Court by:

Amicus Curiae: Satyajit S. Bora
For State of Maharashtra: Chief PP D. R. Kale
For Union of India: ASGI Ajay G. Talhar
For the respondent 8: Adv. S. G. Chapalgaonkar
For the respondent 22: Adv. K. N. Lokhande
For the respondent 25: Adv. R. K. Ingole

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: Yogesh Khanna, J., observed in view of the plethora of decisions that

“…even if there was an irregularity at the time of making a seizure, procedural or otherwise, it would not ipso facto vitiate the seizure.” 

Instant petition was filed for direction to the respondent to immediately release the products/stock seized by it from the petitioner’s Collection Centre at Lodhi Colony and the petitioner’s office premises.

On search of a restaurant in the name and style of Nege Ju 32 boxes of Oxygen Concentrators of 9 and 5 litres capacity; one box of the thermal scanner and KN-95 Masks were recovered.

In view of the above stated, an FIR was filed under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act, under Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act and Section 420/188/120B/34 Penal Code, 1860 and four accused persons were arrested in this regard.

Black Marketing of COVID-19 Treatment-related equipment’s

During the course of investigation, at the instance of the accused persons, 387 oxygen concentrators; 112 boxes containing KN-95 marks, 95 Oximeter were recovered from Matrix Cellular International Services Private Limited. The accused persons allegedly disclosed regarding black marketing of oxygen concentrators and other COVID-19 treatment related equipment from various sources and supply/sold to highest payer and needy person.

Oxygen Concentrators were also recovered from Khan Chacha Restaurant and further invoices in the name of Dayal Opticals for selling 250 Oxygen Concentrators were recovered at the instance of accused.

Petitioner argued that it is dealing in oxygen concentrators and not oxygen cylinders and the equipments which are seized from the petitioner are sold over the counters and is not a regulated/controlled item. These items are being sold by Amazon and other online portals and the acts of petitioner have been carved out separately is a mischief of the concerned Investigating Officer.

Thus, it was argued that only if the State had regulated the import and capped the price of concentrators only then these could have been seized; hence without any order under Essential Commodities Act or without any regulation under The Epidemic Diseases Act, the act of the State is wholly illegal and hence the articles need be returned. 

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench stated that it will examine whether the act of respondent in seizing the above-stated articles was legal?

State also relied upon the orders and notifications issued by the Government from time to time to fight the pandemic.

It was noted that the oxygen concentrator, being a device was covered within the definition of Drug per Section 3(b)(iv) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Notification dated 11-02-2020 stated that device includes an instrument, apparatus, used for treatment, sustaining life etc. and Order dated 31-03-2020 stated that medical device, intending for use in human being shall be governed by provisions of Drug Price Control Order 2013. Further, an Order dated 29-062020 warned of increasing MRP of the concentrators, more than 10% a year.

Therefore, respondent acted arbitrarily, or their action had no legal backing was all wrong.

Seizure had been made under Section 102 CrPC. It gives the power to any police officer to seize any property which may be alleged or suspected to have been stolen, or which may be found under circumstances that create suspicion of the commission of any offence.

Adding to its analysis, Court also stated that the seized items were found under suspicious circumstances where individuals were in alleged violation of the Covid-19 lockdown measures imposed at that time, and accordingly, police was authorised to seize the oxygen concentrators lying at the spot.

Police officer is empowered under CrPC to investigate upon information received or otherwise, if he suspects the commission of a crime that he is empowered to investigate under Section 156 of the Cr PC, and since the investigation includes collection of evidence hence, it authorizes the Investigating Officer to seize any property for the purpose of the collection of evidence. Unlike Section 156 Cr P C, under Section 102 Cr P C the police is empowered to investigate cognizable cases and the police can seize any property without an FIR. 

Bench noted that the Court needs to be careful in scrutinizing the seizure memo, as the law is crystallized over the years viz Pooran Mal v. Director of Inspection (Investigation) (1974) 1 SCC 345 and State of Maharashtra v. Natwarlal Damodardas Soni (1980) 4 SCC 669.

Conjoint reading of the FIR, invoices and receipts produced by the petitioner along with the fact that the seized oxygen concentrators were allegedly sold at huge profit margins in contravention of laws, rules and executive orders.

The facts of the present matter show that the petitioner was engaged in selling untested oxygen concentrators to people desperate for these devices and at exorbitant prices through false representations, especially, when the State and the whole country saw an unprecedented surge of covid-19 infections and sever lack of oxygen cylinders and/or concentrators.

Hence, no illegality in the act of respondent especially when the State was reeling in acute shortage of drugs, cylinders, concentrators and attendants of patients were running pillar to post, ready to part with their life savings for its purchase.

High Court lastly added while dismissing the petition that the concentrators so seized be put an identification mark(s) and its coloured photographs are kept for future reference. [Matrix Cellular (International) Services Ltd. v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2021 SCC OnLine Del 2566, decided on 27-05-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

Mr Mohit Mathur, Mr Trideep Pais, Senior Advocates with Mr Samudra Sarangi, Ms Shruti Raina, Ms Srishti Khare, Ms Abhilasha Khanna, Ms Nishtha Aggarwal, Ms Moha Paranjpe, Mr Sumit Misra, and Ms Sanya Kumar, Advocates

For the Respondent:

Mr S.V.Raju, ASG with Mr Sanjay Lao, Standing Counsel (Crl), Ms Kamna Vohra, ASC with Ms Sairica Raju, Mr A Venkatesh, Mr Guntur Pramod Kumar, Ms Zeal Shah, Mr Shaurya R Rai, Ms Aarushi Singh and Mr Anshuman Singh, Advocates for the State.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of Chief Justice and Aravind Kumar J. gave a slew of directions regarding vaccine allocation, oxygen supply, food security and dignified burial of COVID dead bodies.

Issue 1: Delay in test result reporting

The Court taking stock of the situation in light of a recent incident where a staff of High Court died due to covid as the test result was not communicated to the deceased on time and hence he could not take treatment for COVID-19.

Directions:

  • State Government must initiate appropriate action in accordance with law against all concerned who are responsible for this lapse and place on record a report on the action taken on the next date.
  • State Government shall issue a direction to all the Laboratories to ensure that such incidents are not repeated and test reports are made available within 24 hours.

Issue 2: Vaccine Allocation

About 26, 00,000 beneficiaries in the State who have taken the first dose of COVISHIELD or COVAXIN have not received the second dose though it is overdue as per the prevailing norms of the Central Government. The total stock of vaccines available in the State is only 9, 37,780 of doses. Hence, there is no possibility of majority of 26, 00,000 beneficiaries getting the second dose which is already overdue. The situation which prevails today clearly shows that if all the available 9, 37,780 doses are to be used for administering the second dose, a substantial number of beneficiaries who have taken the first dose will not get the second dose.

The Court observed that there cannot be any distinction between the words ‘due’ and ‘overdue’ when it comes to administration of the second dose. Once as per the existing timelines, the second dose is due, it is an obligation of the Governments to ensure that the second dose is provided. If the second dose is not provided, it will be a violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Court further observed that If those who have taken the first dose are not administered the second dose on the respective due dates, apart from violation of the fundamental rights of the said citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, if they are required to take the first dose again, it will be a huge national waste of the first dose already administered to them.

A mandatory direction to both the Governments regarding ensuring sufficient procurement of quantity of vaccine doses however was not issued in light of submission made by the Additional Solicitor General. It was stated that a decision on allocation of vaccine is likely to be taken and it was assured that the Central Government will make every endeavour to bridge the gap to ensure that no one is denied the second dose which has become due.

The sum and substance of the guidelines by the Central Government appears to be that the first priority of the State Government should be to provide vaccine to those who have taken the first dose.

“By way of an illustration, we may record here that if a person has taken the first dose of COVISHIELD more than eight weeks back, he must get priority over the person who has completed seven weeks from the date of taking the first dose of COVISHIELD. Thus, it is mandatory for the State Government to ensure that a rational and fair formula is adopted for giving second dose of vaccination.”

Directions:

  • State Government must abide by the said guidelines considering the desperate and critical situation created due to failure to administer second dose to about 20,00,000 citizens.
  • State Government shall place on record all the facts and figures (district-wise) regarding the second dose administered throughout the State

Issue 3: Food Security

The Government of India decided to allocate free of cost food grains at 5 Kgs, per person, per month to nearly 80 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) over and above NFSA Food grains for next two months i.e. May and June 2021 on the same pattern as the earlier “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)”. Under this Special scheme (PM-GKAY) around 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries covered under both the categories of NFSA, namely Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Householders (PHH) will be provided with an additional quota of free of cost food grains (Rice/wheat) at a scale of 5 Kgs per person, per month, over and above their regular  monthly entitlements under NFSA.

There is an issue regarding implementation of the instant scheme which is being implemented through Indira Canteens throughout the State.

 Directions:

  • It is directed to both the Governments to take a call on the issue whether the benefits of Atma Nirbhara Scheme as applicable last year can be extended to those who are not holding a ration card of any State.
  • State Government shall also identify the vulnerable sections of the society who have been affected by the partial lockdown.
  • State Government shall take a decision immediately on the issue of restoring Dasoha helpline to know who are the persons who are deprived of the benefits of the scheme of the State Government of supplying cooked food as well as well as the scheme of the Central Government.

Highlights of the Report of the Monitoring Committee of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority

There are two main issues which arise on the basis of the said report. These are as follows:

  • Compensation in Chamarajanagar District Hospital Tragedy

The Court relied on judgments Rudul Sah v. State of Bihar 1983 (4) SCC 141 and Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa, AIR 1993 SC 1960 and observed “that in a public law remedy in the form of a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, Writ Court can grant compensation for violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

  • Responsibility for lapses

The Court observed that the Committee has found instances of tampering with the relevant record. The Court directed that “the record shall be retained in the custody of the Chief Secretary will continue to operate. Needless to add that either the Commissioner appointed under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 or any Investigating Agency needs to look into the record, the Chief Secretary will make available the said record.”

Observations regarding Oxygen

“….it is for the State Government to immediately communicate the requirements of the State to the concerned Authority of the Central Government in view of the assurance recorded therein.”

Observations regarding Dignified Burial or Cremation

The Court observed

“….State Government permit burial of the body of a person who has died due to COVID-19 without obtaining a death certificate.””

The Court finally directed “the learned Advocate General or the learned Additional Advocate General convenes a meeting of the learned counsel appearing for the parties so that the issues regarding compliances can be discussed and a proper response is given on the next date”

[Mohammed Arif Jameel v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 12301, decided on 13-05-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.