SC seems the Centre’s response in a plea seeking to ensure the availability of WHO graded protective gear for all medical professionals and health workers actively attending to COVID-19 patients

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A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah of the Supreme Court of India asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to consider the petition filed by advocate Astha Sharma and argued by advocate Sunil Fernandes for making available WHO approved protection kits for doctors, as they are working under tedious conditions to tackle COVID-19 pandemic

Prior Facts:

A plea was filled by a Nagpur-based doctor, Jerryl Banait in the Supreme Court of India for making available WHO approved protection kits for doctors, as they are working under tedious conditions to tackle COVID-19 pandemic.

Key features:

  • The petitioner contended that in the absence of adequate protective gear, doctors put themselves at the risk of being affected by the virus, warranting availability of graded protective gear to them and other welfare facilities, to aid them to combat the virus.
  • The Plea stated that “As there is no specific vaccination to prevent or cure COVID-19, doctors must be in constant contact with patients, to monitor them on regular intervals, and observe their symptoms”.
  • He sought a direction to the Union government to ensure availability of World Health Organisation- recommended graded protective gear, including Hazmat (Hazardous material) suits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sterile medical or nitrile gloves, starch apparels, medical masks, goggles, face shield, respirators (i e, N – 95 Respirator Mask or Triple Layer Medical Mask or equivalent), shoe covers, headcovers and coveralls or gowns to all health workers.
  • He submitted that these materials should be provided to doctors, nurses, ward boys, other medical and para-medical professionals actively attending to, and treating patients suffering from COVID-19 is not just in metro cities, but also in tier – 2 tier – 3 cities.
  • The petition stated that “In case, where the hospitals and health centres are not provided WHO standardized masks and gowns, medical staff mortality will exponentially increase and the situation will spiral out of control in the absence of sufficient medical assistance.”
  • The petitioner also sought directives to the states to set up COVID-19 special screening centres in smaller towns and other cities and to take immediate steps to ensure effective implementation of the ‘Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control Healthcare Facilities’ issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, through the National Centre for Disease Control, under the Directorate of General Health Services, on March 25.
  • He further contended necessary steps must be taken to ensure adherence to the Guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the ‘Rational Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Coronavirus Disease 2019’ (COVID-19) on February 27, 2020.


The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to respond to a PIL seeking directions to the authorities to ensure availability of WHO-approved appropriate personal protective equipment for all doctors, nurses, ward boys, and other medical/para-medical professionals actively attending to and treating COVID-19 patients in India.

Without issuing a formal notice to the Government, a Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah asked it to respond to the petition filed by Nagpur-based doctor Jerryl Banait.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaibhav Goyal
Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.