Decided on April 30,2021

SUO MOTU Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


Mohammad Rafiq,C.J. - (1.) Present suo motu petition was registered as Public Interest Litigation for benefit of residents of the State suffering from Coronavirus, who are aggrieved by inaction on the part of the various State Authorities in not providing them timely and proper treatment. This Court vide order dated 19.04.2021 had issued as many as 19 directions aimed at redressing their grievances. An action taken report was filed by the State on 26.04.2021. When the matter was listed on 26.04.2021, Mr. Naman Nagrath, learned Amicus Curiae filed an application to call for further action taken report on certain points. A supplementary action taken report was filed by the State on 28.04.2021.
(2.) Mr. Naman Nagrath, learned Amicus Curiae has argued that despite exhaustive directions issued by this Court to ensure continuous and regular supply of Oxygen and Remdesivir to all the Government Hospitals as well as private Hospitals/Nursing Homes, the State Government has failed to manage the state of affairs inasmuch as more than 60 deaths have so far taken place in the State owing to lack of oxygen. The portrayal regarding availability of oxygen in the action plan submitted by the State before this Court, is far from reality. Out of eight PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Oxygen Plants approved by the Central Government under the PM CARES (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund) Fund, so far only five Plants have been installed and they too are also functional with less than half capacity. It is submitted that one PSA Oxygen Plant costs approximately Rupees One Crore. The State of Madhya Pradesh has got 52 districts in which District Hospitals are situated. There is no reason why it cannot invest an amount of Rs.50 Crore so as to set up one PSA Oxygen Plants in each of them. There is no liquid oxygen manufacturing plant in the entire State. Since there is possibility of third wave of Covid-19 in the coming months, it is the duty of the State to take steps to ensure that such plants are set up in the State.
(3.) Learned Amicus Curiae submitted that availability of Remdesivir still remains major cause of concern. This medicine is being openly black-marketed and sold at exorbitant price in the State. Most of the private hospitals are requiring the Covid-19 patients to obtain this medicine on their own. The patients requiring admission are being made to shuttle from one hospital to another in view of ambiguity regarding availability of beds. The State Government has to pay urgent attention to strengthen the healthcare facilities in the rural areas, so that citizens do not suffer adverse consequence. Despite direction by this Court for not charging more than the rates prescribed for treatment, the private hospitals are taking exorbitant charges. The Government has so far taken no steps to curb such malpractice. It is submitted that as per experts, second wave of Covid-19 is likely to reach peak in the mid of May, 2021. Despite direction by this Court, the State Government has not increased number of testing and has not complied direction to ensure that report of RT-PCR is provided to the suspects/patients within 36 hours of the collection of the sample, which generally takes 3 to 4 days. Even though statement was made on behalf of the Government before this Court on 07.04.2021 that no oral instruction has been issued to private labs to stop conduct of Covid-19 test, the private pathology labs/diagnostics centres are refusing to conduct the Covid-19 test. The patients having BPL cards under Deendayal Antyodaya Upchar Yojana, Cards under Ayushman Bharat Yojana and those covered under the CGHS are neither being given admission nor provided treatment by the Private Hospitals/Nursing Homes approved therefor. The State Government is not taking any effective steps for disposal of the medical waste, which is being dumped at open place in all the major cities of the State.;

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