The Bombay High Court on Tuesday
directed the Union government to respond to a Public Interest Litigation seeking a cap on the price of N95 masks.
The plea, filed by Sucheta Dalal and Anjali Damania, claimed such a cap on pricing was required to curb black marketing of the masks during the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petitioners' counsel, senior advocate Mihir Desai, told the court there already existed a shortage of N95 masks for frontline healthcare workers and, therefore, it was imperative their hoarding or black marketing be prevented.
The Maharashtra government, however, told HC on Tuesday it had already written to the Centre seeking a maximum ceiling on the sale price of N95 masks.
A bench of Chief justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SS Shinde, therefore, directed Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh to take instructions from the Union government on the same and inform the court on Friday.
As per the plea, though N95 masks have been declared an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, hoarding and profiteering continues in the state, and it was imperative government authorities ensured fair pricing.
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