Centre assured Supreme Court of publicizing helpline numbers for implementation of its earlier notification. The notification also mentioned controlling of prices of hand sanitizers and masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Justice For Rights Foundation, an NGO, filed a petition in this regard. The plea sought the intervention of the apex court claiming that the prices of hand sanitizers and masks are being inflated in the market. Advocate Amit Kumar Sharma contended that, “Article 21 is sacrosanct and it should not be made a part of trade-in hands of nefarious few”.
On March 21, 2020, the Department of Consumer Affairs fixed the prices of two-ply masks at Rs 8 and three-ply at Rs 10 and sanitizer bottle of 200 ml at Rs 100. The petitioners claimed that in practicality, these items were sold at inflated prices. The petition sought the apex Court’s intervention to ascertain that hand sanitizers and masks are made available at reasonable prices to the public at large.
Thus, a bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta directed the Union Government to address the complaints properly. And with that direction, the petition was disposed of.