MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ashish Shelar to deposit, as security, Rs 5 lakh within seven days after the civic body raised preliminary objections to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed last year.
A bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and Girish Kulkarni heard Deepa Chavan, counsel for Shelar for some time in support of the PIL which seeks streamlining of medicines, disinfectants and sanitisers for Covid-19 to prevent “profiteering by a few” during its procurement.
But senior counsel Milind Sathe appearing for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the PIL was not maintainable.
The HC order said, “According to him, the petitioner’s personal interest having been affected by the impugned action of the corporation, he has sought to raise a grievance by filing this PIL petition.’’
The HC then exercised its powers under the HC PIL rules and directed that Shelar deposit the amount and adjourned the hearing till March 31.
At the earlier hearings, the HC had sought BMC’s reply in January saying, “the concern expressed in this PIL petition requires examination after the pleadings are complete.’’
Later, Shelar was given time to file his rejoinder in February.
The PIL said Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) should be checked and disinfectant procurement by public hospitals should be of the highest standards to ensure the safety of common people, particularly the economically disadvantaged sections of the society.
The BMC failed to evolve a proper framework for procurement of medicines and disinfectants through the tendering process in conformity with applicable norms for the civic hospitals, Shelar’s counsel Chavan had submitted in January.
Sathe had questioned the bona fides of the PIL which Chavan had refuted saying as an MLA he was concerned with safety of people and in high standards of public health.
Sathe also said that the tendering process was a technical matter decided by the experts from civic hospitals and not an issue that can be gone into in a PIL.