SC issues notice to Centre, states on PIL seeking invocation of NSA for hoarding

Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court of India. File/ GK

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre and states on a plea seeking the invocation of the National Security Act (NSA) against those involved in hoarding, profiteering, adulteration, and black marketing.

A bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian issued notice on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

In the plea, Upadhyay highlighted the facts during the second wave of Covid-19 in April last year, when he discovered in leading newspapers that numerous persons from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Below Poverty Line (BPL) died outside hospitals despite beds being available.

“Thousands of EWS and BPL citizens died on streets, in vehicles, in hospitals compounds and their homes due to hoarding of hospital beds, adulterated Covid medicines, black marketing of medical equipment like oxygen cylinder and huge profiteering in the sale of life-saving injections like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab etc...In Delhi itself, Remdesivir injection was sold at the rate of Rs 70,000 though its price is Rs 899. Similarly, large number of oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders were recovered from different places,” his plea read.

He also pointed out that the Essential Commodities Act was enacted to regulate import manufacturing and distribution of drugs. “But it is not adequate to curb hoarding, profiteering adulteration, black marketing, which has deprived thousands of citizens of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution,” the plea read.

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