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Bombay High Court considers temporary ban on cigarettes citing Covid-19

The division bench headed by CJ Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni had sought a response from the Union as well as the Maharashtra government on a plea filed by a petitioner alleging that the medical treatment crisis is a violation of fundamental rights.

Bombay High Court while hearing a plea on the acute shortage of Covid-19 essentials in Maharashtra questioned if there is any data available on the number of smokers who succumbed to Covid-19 in the past year. Asking if there’s a study or result that shows smoking contributes to Covid-19, the High Court said it will consider putting a temporary ban on the same. 

The division bench headed by CJ Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni had sought a response from the Union as well as the Maharashtra government on a plea filed by a petitioner alleging that the medical treatment crisis is a violation of fundamental rights of the citizens in the state.

Advocate Arshil Khan appearing for the petitioner stated that the “second wave of the pandemic is already in motion” and that the government at the Centre and state, as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, failed to systematise the medical treatment.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni though acknowledged the petition but raised objection to the reliance on political comments in the plea questioning the intent of the plea. 

The hearing continued today where the attorney general gave a point to point response on the manufacturing and distribution of Remdesivir, allocation of the drug to each state, oxygen supply for the state of Maharashtra through ‘oxygen express’ and bed management.

It is during the hearing that the Bombay High Court bench demanded if there’s any study that establishes a link between Covid-19 and smoking. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday took suo moto cognizance of issues related to oxygen supply, drug supply and vaccine policy in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. CJI Bobde said that at least 6 High Courts are considering cases related to pandemic management. 

The CJI informed, “We as a court wish to take suo motu cognizance of certain issues. We find that there are 6 High Courts -Delhi, Bombay, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Calcutta and Allahabad-. They are exercising jurisdiction in best interest. We appreciate that. But it is creating confusion and diversion of resources.”

“We want to issue notice for a national plan on these issues. We will issue notice and keep the matter tomorrow,” CJI Bobde added.

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