NEELIMA SADANAND VARTAK Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
NEELIMA SADANAND VARTAK
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.) DIPANKAR DATTA, CJ,.
1. The petitioner is a legal practitioner. In this writ petition styled as 'Public Interest Litigation', she challenges a circular issued by the Joint Secretary (MPLADS) to the Government of India, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, dated April 8, 2020.
(2.) The impugned circular was preceded by two circulars dated March 24 and 28, 2020. It would be appropriate to note what was provided by these circulars before we take note of the impugned circular.
(3.) On March 24, 2020, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MPLADS Division), had issued a circular on the subject of one-time dispensation under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (hereafter the "MPLAD Scheme", for short) for purchase of testing, screening and other facilities in connection with COVID-19. Such circular was issued based on requests received from Hon'ble Members of Parliament (hereafter "the MPs", for short) for including facilities for medical testing and screening under the MPLAD Scheme in order to bolster the ongoing fght against pandemic caused by COVID-19. In such context, the Ministry decided that the District Authority may utilize MPLAD Scheme funds on medical testing, screening and other facilities required to detect and contain COVID-19 and that it had been decided to grant one-time dispensation under the MPLAD Scheme for purchase/installation of the items mentioned therein by relaxing the guidelines in the manner suggested and following the procedure detailed therein. Such circular was stated to have been issued with the approval of the Competent Authority.;
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