Mumbai, May 24: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court last week asked private sector companies in Vidharbha region to come forward and contribute funds under corporate social responsibility (CSR) to strengthen the health infrastructure in Maharashtra. The high court bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote said if private companies fail to come forward it will pass appropriate orders to "wake them up and attend to their duty."

The bench while hearing a suo motu PIL pertaining to Covid crisis, noted that despite its earlier orders there has been no significant development in the CSR funds as the private sector companies haven't contributed yet. The bench said the response from these companies has not been encouraging.

"This attempt is being made by the court with a view to strengthen the health care system in Vidarbha Region, especially in view of Covid -19 pandemic. This Court, therefore, expected not only from the state government but also from the public sector companies and also private firms to make their contributions to the noble cause," the judges said.

"When these corporate entities (private firms) are enjoined with a statutory duty (under the Companies Act, 2013), it is expected that these companies discharge their duties whenever they are called upon to do so, and in our opinion, there could have been no better opportunity than the present time and present cause to discharge such duty," the judges added.

In their orders issued on May 19, the judges specifically said, "If these companies have not so far responded to the call given by this Court, we would have to issue necessary directions for making these companies wake up and answer the call of their duty."

The judges, accordingly, ordered the Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur & Amravati regions to verify which all firms have contributed till now.

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