Covid: Court seeks information from companies on CSR spending
A court in the country has for the first time stepped into the raging debate over the extreme shortage of Covid-related supplies by seeking information from companies about how much money out of their CSR corpus they have spent to tide over the crisis.
The Nagpur bench of the Mumbai high court on Wednesday entered a “motion on its own” to buttress two PIL applications seeking information from private and public sector companies on the amount of CSR funds spent on Covid equipment and supplies in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
The court expressed its dismay that the companies have been extremely tardy in providing the information in response to the PIL requests.
“This court has already made an attempt to get detailed information about the availability of CSR funds with different private sector companies operating in Vidarbha region... But, the response that this court has received so far from different companies is not encouraging,’’ the division bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Avinash G. Gharote said.
The court said the response of the private sector companies has been inadequate. While PSUs have been more forthcoming, some such as NTPC and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company have not provided the information.
The court has now directed the divisional commissioners of Nagpur and Amravati to gather the information from the companies in their respective areas. The commissioners have been told to make a request to the companies for the release of CSR funds which may be available upon such verification. The whole exercise must be done before the next date of hearing, the court said.
The court also expressed concern about the rising cases of mucormycosis — a Covid-related fungal disease, dubbed by some doctors as “a pandemic within a pandemic’’.
It said there were about 26 companies in the country which make the drugs to treat mucormycosis. The Centre must regulate their production and distribution so that there was no shortage, while the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority should look into its pricing.