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Bombay HC initiates PIL over issues of funeral rites, oxygen shortage

The court noted that as per a newspaper report, relatives of deceased Covid-19 patients have to run from pillar to post to collect certificates for performing funeral rites, and said that “one window system” for funeral rites can be deliberated upon.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
April 25, 2021 6:41:23 pm
Workers unloading oxygen cylinders from a truck outside a private hospital at Kasba Peth on Saturday, amids Shortage of Oxygen in Pune. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

After the principal seat of the Bombay High Court in Mumbai along with its Nagpur bench took cognizance of Covid-19 management, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court, after perusing several news reports, has initiated a suo motu PIL to address issues of funeral rites of Covid-19 patients, shortage of medical oxygen supply and black marketing of remdesivir among others.

A division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar, referred to 14 newspaper reports, on April 22 directed the central government, state government, municipal commissioner and district collectors from Marathwada and North Maharashtra under its jurisdiction to be made respondents to the PIL.

The bench appointed advocate Satyajeet S Bora as Amicus Curiae to assist it with the case. The court asked Bora to keep track of the Supreme Court proceedings, wherein the apex court had taken cognizance of matters pertaining to supply of oxygen and remdesivir injections, and asked him to inform the bench about the same.

The court noted that as per a newspaper report, relatives of deceased Covid-19 patients have to run from pillar to post to collect certificates for performing funeral rites, and said that “one window system” for funeral rites can be deliberated upon.

The court also took serious cognizance of a news report showing that an oxygen plant in the Government Medical College and Hospital premises in Aurangabad is likely to face great risk of an accident similar to that in Nashik on April 21.

The HC said it will deal with the issues being reported on alleged black marketing of remdesivir injections, wherein they are being sold at “exorbitant rates”, even to the extent of Rs 22,000 or 37,500 per vial, whereas the cost of such injections ranges between Rs 850 and Rs 2,500.

While the Aurangabad bench will hear the case on April 26, the Nagpur bench will hear a suo motu PIL on April 27. A bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta at the principal seat in Mumbai will hear the PIL on Covid-19 management on May 4.

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