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Can't prosecute good Samaritan for providing oxygen amid 2nd wave: Delhi HC

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By NS Desk 29-Jul-2021

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday pulled up Delhi's Drug Controller for initiating prosecution against AAP MLA Praveen Kumar for procuring medical oxygen amid the second wave of Covid.

A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh observed there is no need to initiate prosecution, especially against the backdrop where both Delhi government and the Centre failed to provide sufficient medical oxygen to the people. In this case, it said, then every gurudwara, temple or church, social organisation and every good Samaritan, providing medical oxygen amid second wave, should be booked.

"How can you prosecute him? Both GNCTD and Union failed in providing sufficient oxygen to people in Delhi. There were some Samaritans who provided oxygen. You can't prosecute them," it said.

The court also asked the Drug Controller to make a distinction between those MLAs or public representatives, who helped people by distributing oxygen, and those who indulged in stocking key drugs such as Remdesivir or Fabi Flu.

The bench held that this is different from Gautam Gambhir Foundation's matter, which distributed Fabi Flu. Citing its June 3 order, the high court said the issue of medical oxygen being technical is different from the issue of hoarding of Covid-19 drugs.

"This way you'll pick up half of Delhi. Why to proceed against specific political parties then?" it said, telling the Drug Controller that targeting political parties is very unfortunate, and further emphasised that a human tragedy has been used for political capital.

Counsel, representing the Drug Controller, said that as per the earlier court's order, the exemption was given for personal use.

Indicating that it was not happy with the Drug Controller prosecuting MLAs for sourcing/supplying oxygen, the court, citing Gambhir's case, said the reason for picking up this case was that he was very irresponsibly having covid medicines.

As senior Advocate Kailash Vasdev, representing the Gambhir Foundation, requested the court to not make any adverse observations which might be used against him in the court of law wherein prosecution has been launched against it, the court clarified that these observations should not come in way of parties in the criminal court and the case should be adjudicated on merits.

The high court made these observations after learning that the Drugs Control Department has launched a prosecution in the court against Gautam Gambhir Foundation, its trustees and CEO, as well as AAP MLAs Praveen Kumar and Imran Hussain on July 8 for contravening the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Recently, the Supreme Court declined to entertain a petition filed by Gambhir's Foundation challenging the Delhi High Court order to initiate inquiry into alleged hoarding of Covid-19 drugs by it.

--IANS

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