Political leaders should not hoard COVID-19 drugs: Delhi High Court
Political leaders should not hoard medicines used for the treatment of the coronavirus at a time when people are running from pillar to post for such drugs, the Delhi High Court observed today. The court said if these politicians want to help, they should submit their stocks to the government for better distribution of the medicines. Here's more on this.
"Political leaders have no business to hoard stocks. If their intention is to do public good, then they should surrender the same to Director General of Health Services (DGHS) who will then distribute it to government hospitals," the court said.
A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh passed this order. Even though the Delhi Police offered to seize the drugs hoarded by politicians, the court refrained from passing any such direction. "We hope and expect that medicines are not hoarded for political gains. We expect that such medicines be surrendered to DGHS for distribution to government hospitals," the court said.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that politicians from several parties were involved in the illegal distribution of medicines used for COVID-19 treatment. The petition sought registration of an FIR against such politicians, including BJP MP Gautam Gambhir and Youth Congress leader Srinivas BV. The Delhi High Court had earlier this month asked the police to probe the matter.
The court also pulled up the city police for conducting a "vague" investigation into the allegations of drug hoarding by politicians. "Just because some political figures are involved, this is no reason to not investigate. Your force should stand up, you have a duty toward the people. You have to understand this. People all over are suffering," Justice Sanghi said, according to Hindustan Times.
As part of its probe, the Delhi Police has questioned several leaders including Gambhir, Srinivas, AAP legislator Dilip Pandey, among others. The court has now asked the police to conduct a "proper investigation" and submit a status report. It also asked the cops to find out how chemists supplied such large quantities of medicines. Reportedly, the matter will next be heard on May 24.
Politicians from across party lines have been distributing medicines and oxygen-related equipment even as India continues to report acute shortages of such material amid a second wave of the coronavirus. Srinivas, the President of the Indian Youth Congress, has been distributing oxygen cylinders and arranging hospital beds for patients in Delhi. Gambhir, the East Delhi MP, had announced free distribution of the drug Fabiflu.