August 17, 2021 4:18:00 am
The Gujarat High Court on August 9 wanted to know from the state why the standards of application of Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act for offences pertaining to Remdesivir sale or manufacturing varies for different jurisdictions in Gujarat.
“For Remdesivir (related offenders), PASA is different in Bharuch, Surat, Vadodara city and Ahmedabad. How can you leave your citizens like this? There has to be a uniform decision. Let there be some coordination with the state,” said Justice Paresh Upadhyay who was dealing with a detention order issued against one Nitin Suryavanshi, accused in a case dealing with manufacturing and distribution of fake Remdesivir.
The assistant public prosecutor responded that as per his instructions, if there is an offence revolving around original Remdesivir, they will not take any action under PASA but in the given case the Suryavanshi was among the accused for a case dealing with fake Remdesivir.
“But who is the manufacturer? They would be anti-national then,” retorted Justice Upadhyay. For Two FIRs were registered — one in Ahmedabad and another in Vadodara — against Suryavanshi for manufacturing fake Remdesivir. The court observed that the FIRs registered on April 26 and 28, were during a time when the second wave was “on its peak”.
“This is a once-in-a-century event… In Covid-19, everything was closed suddenly overnight. Salaries stopped from contractors. Rations were over. There is no money, no shops were allowed to open. So many labourers were put in jail, their bail matters were before me, so I know. All for what? Would you call them accused or victim? This was the situation in March 2020. Then came the second wave when there was a disorganisation (mismanagement) of Remdesivir. What went wrong, went wrong, nobody is to be blamed for it… But who has complained (for the present FIRs)? No one has complained.”
Noting that the man has been in jail for over three-and-half months and remarking that “this exploitation business must stop”, Justice Upadhyay said, “…This is a matter of decoy (FIRs)… Was there a complaint? Anybody complained? No. You received ‘information’. Both FIRs were registered with DCB (branch)… this is a diversion. You have to ask where this (fake remdesivir) came from and if a citizen says that they got it while waiting in a queue (then the state’s argument can be valid for issuing a detention order). What happened during demonitisation? The poor who were standing in line were not the ones with high denomination currency so they were standing on behalf of someone.”
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