HC: Raid chemists, manufactures to check overpricing, quality of sanitisers, masks
CHANDIGARH : The high court has directed governments of Punjab and Haryana and Chandigarh administration to conduct raids at chemist shops and drug manufacturers to ascertain quality of sanitisers and masks being sold in view of Covid-19 outbreak and also whether their pricing is as per the notification of the central government.
The high court bench of justice Amol Rattan Singh issued these suo motu directions while hearing a petition from a Hisar medical firm booked under the Essential Commodities Act for allegedly cheating people by selling a disinfectant as sanitiser for which it did not have licence.
The March 21 notification of the Centre stipulates that all hand sanitisers shall not be priced at more than ₹100 per 200 ml. The court observed that most companies manufacturing and selling hand sanitisers, even after March 21, 2020, are showing the maximum retail price of such products to be far above fixed by the government.
Hence, court directed additional chief secretaries/ principal secretaries/secretaries of the departments of health, and food and supplies of both the states and Chandigarh, to have ‘raids’ conducted at chemist shops and manufacturing units, to obtain samples of hand sanitisers/hand disinfectants manufactured after March 2020. Action be initiated against the manufacturer or chemist, whosoever is violating the notification, if the MRP is found higher than fixed by the government, the court said.
The court also observed that a large number of brands of face masks are of sub-standard quality. “Where even while tying the masks, the strings attached break off immediately, thereby making the masks unusable. Consequently, in the ‘raids’ to be conducted, boxes of masks/individual masks shall also be collected and if found to be of sub-standard quality, proceedings as per law shall be taken against all concerned,” the court ordered.
The officers have been asked to file personal affidavits on July 6 on the raids conducted and the results. Further, the court also directed the lawyers associated with the case to immediately inform chief secretaries of both the states and UT adviser so that compliance is ensured.
OFFICERS OF PUNJAB, HARYANA AND UT HAVE BEEN ASKED TO FILE PERSONAL AFFIDAVITS ON JULY 6 ON THE RAIDS AND THE RESULTS