HC calls for reports on COVID-19 issues

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to file reports on the availability of oxygen, Sterlite’s role in making available the same and on the issue relating to alleged blocking of foreign aid to combat COVID-19 at the airport.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy also wondered as to whether any action has been taken to prevent sale of anti-viral drug Remdesvir in the black market.

The bench gave the directions when the issue relating to shortage of vaccines, beds and ventilators and diversion of oxygen to other neighbouring states, taken up by the court on its own, came up today.

The judges also opined that due to the change in the government, the efforts to contain COVID-19 should not be slackened.

During the course of hearing, senior advocate P Wilson told the judges that the increased allocation of oxygen to Tamil Nadu to the tune of 500 MT per day was agreed upon between all the five Southern States and was also submitted to the empowered group of secretaries.

But the secretaries have sat over this recommendation from Sunday, citing some proceedings before other High Courts, even though it has no bearing on the supply of oxygen to the Southern States, he said.

Wilson prayed for a direction to the Additional Solicitor General to file a report on why the Centre was ‘sitting’ over this recommendation of allocation of oxygen.

The judges also reiterated their plea to the political parties to desist from holding victory meetings and rallies and bursting crackers on account of formation of the new government, led by the DMK, on Friday.

The matter stands adjourned till tomorrow.

Meanwhile, another division bench of Justices R Suresh Kumar and P D Audikesavalu referred two PIL petitions on the corona issue to the Registrar-General for placing them before the first bench headed by the Chief Justice, for hearing.

One PIL from city resident P A Joseph prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to establish immediately special hospitals with Siddha and Homeopathy doctors/practitioners in all primary health centres in the State for treating Corona victims.

The other one, from Balaji Ram of Aminjikarai here, sought clamping of complete lockdown to prevent the COVID-19 spread.

These two PILs will also come up before the first bench on Thursday.

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