COVID-19 drugs case: Supreme Court won’t stay proceedings against Gambhir foundation

BJP MP Gautam Gambhir. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea by BJP MP Gautam Gambhir’s foundation to stay the proceedings in a case of illegal procurement and distribution of COVID-19 drugs, saying individuals cannot monopolise the distribution of drugs during the pandemic when medicines were scarce.

“People were going helter-skelter to procure drugs during the second wave. And then suddenly, one person started distributing drugs. This is not done,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed orally.

Justice M.R. Shah, also on the Bench, objected to the submissions of the foundation's lawyer, senior advocate Kailash Vasdev, that his client was working for people.

Mr. Vasdev sought a stay of the proceedings initiated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act

“We saw how the common man was suffering. Individuals cannot distribute drugs... Do you want us to go into the merits of this case?,” Justice Shah asked the lawyer.

Justice Chandrachud expressed the court’s puzzlement of the sudden coming of existence of a foundation that assures people of life-saving COVID-19 medicines.

Justice Shah said, “We do not want to say anything... We too have our ears to the ground”.

‘Move HC for relief’

The Bench advised the foundation to move the Delhi High Court for relief. Mr. Vasdev withdrew the case.

The Delhi government’s drug controller had accused the foundation in the High Court of unauthorisedly stocking, procuring and distributing the Fabiflu medicine for COVID-19 patients.

The High Court had deprecated the manner in which a huge quantity of the drug was procured. It had said how genuine patients who needed the medicine at that particular time could not get it as the bulk stock was taken away by cricketer-turned-politician Gambhir.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 5:48:19 AM |

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