Mumbai, Jun 7 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Monday accepted the Union government's statement that 18 of the 19 faulty ventilators supplied to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Aurangabad had been repaired.
Justices Ravindra V Ghuge and Bhalchandra U Debadwar of the Aurangabad bench of HC, however, directed GMCH to keep 'back up' ventilators ready to ensure the health of patients was 'not put in jeopardy' in case the repaired ones malfunction again.
It also directed GMCH to start testing 37 remaining ventilators supplied by the Centre that the facility had not yet removed from the box.
The ventilators that were malfunctioning or not working properly could be segregated and GMCH can inform the court about them, the bench said.
The bench is hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on management of resources and containing the COVID-19 pandemic in districts of Marathwada and North Maharashtra.
Last month, the state's counsel, chief public prosecutor DR Kale had told HC that 113 of 150 ventilators supplied by the Union government under the PM CARES fund to government and private hospitals in Marathwada region were found to be defective.
Of these, 56 ventilators were given to GMCH, and 19 of them were found to be defective, while 37 had not been taken out of their packing so far, Kale had informed HC.
On Monday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told the bench technicians from the manufacturing firm, Jyoti CNC Automations, and two senior expert doctors from Delhi had repaired the defective ventilators at GMCH.
The Union's counsel, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, told HC around 5,500 ventilators were supplied by the Centre to Maharashtra, and defects were detected only in the ones given to GMCH, Aurangabad.
Singh maintained the above ventilators were not purchased from the PM CARES fund.
The Union government also said Jyoti CNC will carry out repairs, if required, for the remaining 37 ventilators supplied to GMCH.
He said minor repairs could be carried out at GMCH itself, while those that had major defects would be taken by the manufacturer to its research and development facility for rectification.
The bench said the Maharashtra government must contact all hospitals in the state that had received ventilators from the above lot and check if they were functioning properly, and submit a report on it to the court.
'There is no dispute that these 18 ventilators can be used in the treatment of patients provided they are supported with standby ventilators or ventilator back up,' the HC said.
'Since we are of the view there should not be any scope for suspicion and circumspection, it would be appropriate for Divisional Commissioner Aurangabad to collect specific reports from various respondent district collectors wherever ventilators from this lot were received,' it said.
HC will continue hearing the PIL on the issue of the ventilators on June 21. PTI AYA BNM BNM