Examine introducing price regulation for N95 masks: HC

‘Masks that provide defence against COVID-19 should be available at affordable rates’

September 04, 2020 10:32 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - Bengaluru

A worker packing N95 masks. Government data shows that the masks are sold in the market in the price range of ₹60 to ₹300 across the State.

A worker packing N95 masks. Government data shows that the masks are sold in the market in the price range of ₹60 to ₹300 across the State.

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday directed both Union and State governments to examine the need to introduce a measure to regulate the price of N95 masks while observing that there is a need to ensure their availability even to common citizens when the country is witnessing a steep rise in COVID-19 cases.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar issued the directions while hearing through videoconference PIL petitions on issues related to COVID-19 health management. Noting that the health experts have regarded N95 masks as the best weapon to fight against COVID-19, the Bench said it is the duty of both the governments to ensure sufficient availability of N95 masks at affordable rates, as COVID-19 positive cases are increasing in Karnataka.

As the State government’s data showed that N95 masks are sold in the open market in the range of ₹60 and ₹300 across State, the Bench said the Centre’s decision to leave the price of N95 masks to open market dynamics from July 1 would adversely affect citizens.

Pointing out that both the governments are not helpless in ensuring the masks are available at a reasonable price across the State, the Bench said in the present COVID-19 scenario, it is the responsibility of the governments to ensure availability of N95 masks at a reasonable price.

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