The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice in a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the invocation of the National Security Act (NSA) against persons involved in hoarding, profiteering, adulteration and black marketing. [Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India and Ors.].A Bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Central government and all states..The plea filed by Advocate and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay states that the sentence and financial penalties for such offences must be stiff enough to pay for reimbursement and compensation to victims. "If there is direct link between loss of life and hoarding profiteering adulteration and black marketing, then financial penalty must cover the compensation to victim's family.".According to the petition, the facts giving rise to the cause of action arose during the second wave of COVID-19 in April 2021, when the petitioner discovered in leading newspapers that numerous persons from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Below Poverty Line (BPL) died outside hospitals despite beds being available."Thousands of EWS and BPL citizens died on streets, in vehicles, in hospitals compounds and their homes due to hoarding of hospital beds, adulterated COVID medicines, black marketing of medical equipment's like oxygen cylinder and huge profiteering in the sale of life saving injections like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab etc...In Delhi itself, Remdesivir injection was sold at the rate of Rs. 70,000/- though its price is Rs 899. Similarly, large number of oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders were recovered from different places," the plea stated..Furthermore, it contended that the quantum of fine as well as sentence prescribed under the Essential Commodities Act was too meagre to have a deterrent effect given the gravity of the offence."The act was enacted to regulate import manufacturing and distribution of drugs, but it is not adequate to curb hoarding, profiteering adulteration, black marketing, which has deprived thousands of citizens of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution," it said..Stating that such practices are mostly done through cash, the plea said that agencies must investigate black money, benami property and disproportionate assets of offenders. It added that governments must show political will and determination to end the menace and instil confidence in the people that the State will protect them, by framing stringent laws and bringing requisite amendments..The petitioner, therefore, sought direction to the Centre to examine International Laws relating to the mentioned practices and to take appropriate steps to insert a chapter for these offences in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).Alternatively, it requested the Court to direct the Law Commission of India to examine international laws on hoarding, adulteration, profiteering, and black marketing and prepare a report within three months.Upadhyay also sought a declaration that Section 31 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with sentences in cases of conviction for more than one offence, should not apply to laws relating to the practices mentioned, and that sentences should be consecutive rather than concurrent..The plea said that the Supreme Court, as custodian of the Constitution and guardian of fundamental rights, could not remain silent while citizens died as a result of such practices.