Updated: May 28, 2021 8:13:18 am
THE DELHI High Court on Thursday declined to order release of Matrix Cellular’s oxygen concentrators which were seized in a case of black marketing by Delhi Police earlier this month. The court said the company engaged in selling “untested oxygen concentrators” and at exorbitant prices through false representations to people who were desperate for these devices.
“The investigation being at initial stage, the reliefs sought for in this petition cannot be granted by this court, except the concentrators so seized be put identification marks and its coloured photographs be kept for future reference,” said Justice Yogesh Khanna in an order.
The court rejected the allegations that the police acted arbitrarily or their action has no legal backing. “The police official when got information about black marketing and hoarding of medical devices (concentrator) and of violation of the law orders, had acted and seized the material,” said the court, adding the seizure has been made under Section 102 CrPC, which 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 which create suspicion of the commission of any offence”.
It further said 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 were authorised to seize the oxygen concentrators lying at the spot,” read the order.
The court also said that “prima facie” the act of the company is in violation of an office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India, on July 26 last year, which had directed it and others selling oxygen concentrators to not increase prices of oxygen concentrators by more than 10 per cent of the maximum retail price in a year of the Drugs Pricing Control Order, 2013.
“The facts show the petitioner was engaged in selling untested oxygen concentrators to people desperate for these devices and at an exorbitant prices through false representations, especially, when the state and the whole country saw a unprecedented surge of Covid-19 infections and severe lack of oxygen cylinders and/or concentrators,” said the court.
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