NEW DELHI: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to ensure fair and equitable distribution of surgical/N95 masks, hand sanitisers and liquid soap to the public in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea filed by advocate Satayam Singh on behalf of Justice for Rights Foundation, sought the apex court to issue directions to the Centre to provide adequate and effective mechanism for the implementation of various notifications and orders by respective agencies of the Union Government and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, dealing with the price control and management of essential commodities - Face Masks and Hand Sanitisers in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak across the world.
"The sale of face masks and hand sanitisers saw a great increase and with the increase in demand several chemists and medical outlets in an attempt to defraud and profit from the present outbreak have started affixing their own prices over the Minimum Retail Price (MRP), over which no product is allowed to be sold in India", said the plea.
Singh submitted in the plea that if the chemists and other medical outlets persist with the current mode of functioning, then it will negatively impact the most daily wage workers and other economically challenged citizens, who due to quarantine and other restrictive steps shall not be able to earn their livelihood.
The apex court is likely to hear the matter next week. The plea contended, however, even after the issuance of such notification and orders several chemists throughout the country have not reduced the price or deterred from the practice of selling the said essential commodities at a higher price than the government-issued controlled price. The plea submitted that the police and other agencies have adopted a nonchalant and a non-serious approach to the issue and are not providing or effectively dealing with the issue.
As a result, the inaction by authorities concerned allowed price surge in these essential commodities, therefore, risking and endangering the health and wellbeing of every citizen.