Centre Responsible if Faulty Ventilators Procured Through PM CARES Cause Deaths: Bombay HC

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In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court has said that it would be the responsibility of the Centre in case any faulty ventilators supplied by a Gujarat company through the PM CARES Fund caused the deaths of Covid-19 patients.

In its verdict on Wednesday, a division bench comprising Justice Ravindra Ghuge and Justice B.U. Debadwar said that they would “not permit experimentation of ventilators which have undergone major repairs in treating the patients, since this would be causing a risk/health hazard to the patients, and unfortunately, the use of such ventilators may cause loss of life, which must be averted”.

After a submission by the Additional Solicitor-General of India Anil Singh, that a team of expert doctors from New Delhi – one each from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital – would visit the Government Medical College & Hospital, Aurangabad (GMCH) on Thursday to inspect the defective ventilators, the court has posted the matter for further hearing on June 7.

The matter pertains to 150 ventilators provided to the GMCH in April under the PM CARES Fund which were supplied by Rajkot-based Jyoti CNC, of which around 133 were found to be defective or malfunctional. (IANS Report-May 18).

A GMCH committee had submitted a report on the ventilators which suffered continuous breakdowns even after repairs, and hence the machines were not being used as a precautionary measure with the Maharashtra Congress Spokesperson Sachin Sawant raising the issue in a big way.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday had said when COVID-19 vaccination drives are now being held in several housing societies, why authorities cannot take a step further and go to the homes of senior citizens, specially- abled and bed-ridden people to inoculate them.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking a direction to the Union and state governments to start door-to-door vaccination for senior citizens above the age of 75, specially-abled, bed-ridden and wheelchair-bound people.

The petition said such people would not be in a position to step out of their homes and travel to vaccination centres. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni on Wednesday noted that several housing societies are now tying-up with private hospitals and holding vaccination drives in the society premises itself.

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