Tuesday, September 26, 2023

PM Cares Fund: Plea in SC wants fund to be used for Covid vaccines, essentials

Direction to install the procured oxygen plants/ generators and other equipment in 738 district hospitals where medical services are available free of cost for Covid-19 patients.

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A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to utilize the PM Cares Fund to procure Covid-19 vaccines, install oxygen plants and other essential equipment in district hospitals across the country amid the second wave of the pandemic.

The plea filed by Advocate Viplav Sharma, inter-alia, seeks the following relief:

• Direction to install the procured oxygen plants/ generators and other equipment in 738 district hospitals where medical services are available free of cost for Covid-19 patients.

• Direct the central and state governments to ensure that all the private/ charitable hospitals within their respective jurisdiction/ administration procure, install, and commission facilities to provide medical oxygen to its patients.

• Direct state governments to set up electric and other crematoriums in all cities and also maintain and improve the condition of existing electric crematoriums.

• That MPs and MLAs of all the states should be directed to spend their MP/MLA funds in a disciplined manner with full transparency to best serve their respective constituency.

• Stay the Notification No. 28//2021 – Customs dated 24.4.2021 of the Central Government (whereby, exemption on import duty of the medical equipment relating to medical oxygen generation has been granted in the wake it’s acute/raising demand) only to the extent of interfering with the wrongful capping the ‘import duty exemption period for three months (i.e until July 31, 2021)’ as this three months cap of exemption period is too short a period from the standpoint of logistics involved in importing this highly sophisticated medical equipment in India by over 300 concerned notable Hospitals throughout the country. The Petitioner thus prays this Hon’ble Court to kindly consider enlarging this short limited cap of three months exemption period to the period it deems appropriate.

The plea states the following grounds for the relief it sought:-

• Preamble of the Constitution is an integral part of the Constitution by which the People of India have adopted, enacted and given to themselves the comprehensive written Constitution by which they will be governed and that being the basic feature and foundation of the Constitution they cannot be governed otherwise much less by dictatorial method and/or in gross violation of the Constitution and other statutory laws and that the governance in accordance with the Constitution of India and the laws made thereunder is the fundamental right of the people of India including the Petitioner for himself and for all his fellow citizens as enshrined in the Preamble thereof and such right is necessarily required to be protected and enforced under Article 32 of the Constitution by this Hon’ble Court.

Supreme Court being the Constitutional Court and guardian of the fundamental and constitutional rights of the people/citizen of this Country guaranteed to each one of them under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India which under the presently prevailing pandemic CORONA times are liable to be restored, protected and enforced by Supreme Court.

• The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has been legislated by the Parliament and the same is full code in itself for the effective management of disasters and for the matters connected thereto and that the disaster management scheme as envisaged vide the provisions provided under the said Act as also the mechanism provided thereunder if adhered in letter and spirit and completeness, is the best available solution for successfully combating,

(i) Covid-19 pandemic

(ii) adverse repercussions as presently existing like the absence of timely, regular, and adequate availability/supplies of oxygen, vaccine, food, drinking water, shelter, medical cover, and sanitation, etc., having arisen against the poor/lower income group citizen/people and their families (with members of different ages and thereby, with different needs) who are in a substantial percentage of the total population of the country.

• The Central, all the State, and the UT Governments and other concerned agencies, to ensure all hospitals within their respective administration to be equipped with sufficient/adequate means and logistics providing medical oxygen, vaccine and medical treatment to Covid-19 patients with judicial accountability of all concerns which is possible only by way of appropriate orders/directions of Supreme Court

Read Also: Covid dead: NHRC puts out advisory, recommends 11 points including priority vaccination of crematorium staff

• The actual and practical implementation of the ‘National Plan’ at the grass-root level after the same being forthwith made as per DMA, 2005 in respect of the aforesaid subject matter consequent to the orders, if deemed appropriate and passed by Supreme Court, also deserves to be observed/recorded in a transparent manner and the same is possible if the District Judicial Officers are entrusted with this solemn responsibility.

Advocate Viplav Sharma has also written an application to Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana for the urgent listing of this petition.

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