The BOMBAY High Court – while hearing a petition seeking utilisation of masks, hand sanitisers and PPE kits that have been seized by various government agencies during raids – has issued directions to the state government to ensure that the seized properties reach the end-users for combating Covid-19.
The initial hearing on the petition, moved by former MLC and state Congress general secretary Mohan Joshi, was held through videoconferencing in the first week of May and the court had directed the government to furnish information in this regard.
Joshi said that doctors, medical staffs and other government agencies fighting Covid-19 were facing shortage of hand sanitisers, masks and PPE kits. Since the lockdown began, the state police and other departments have been taking action and seized hand sanitisers, masks and other materials from illegal sellers. “The seized material needed to be put to use. We had sought HC directions to release these items even as court cases might be pending,” Joshi said.
He added, “In response, the state government has filed an affidavit in the High Court, stating that interim orders have been passed by the competent authority under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, detailing the procedure for disposal of such seized properties. The state government also confirmed that part of the seized properties have been handed over to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay. The High Court has also directed that the state government shall make all possible endeavour to ensure that in these trying times the seized properties reach the end-users for combating Covid-19. We believe sized items would be a considerable addition to equipment inventory across the state.”
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