District Magistrates of Lucknow and Meerut to report to Allahabad HC on hospitals they allege falsely claimed oxygen shortage

THE Allahabad High Court Friday asked the District Magistrate, Lucknow to submit an action-taken report against two private hospitals if, in his final opinion, they deliberately endangered the lives of innocent people and created panic to serve their interests when they claimed publicly that they were running short of oxygen.

Appearing before the high court, the DM, Lucknow informed the court that Sun Hospital already had sufficient oxygen cylinders as six jumbo cylinders were reported to have been available on the day the notice about the lack of it was published by the hospital.

He claimed that it was quite apparent that the hospital had, with a mala fide intention, to create panic among people, posted the notice showing a scarcity of oxygen with them.

The other hospital that had also been accused of falsely claiming a shortage of oxygen, was a non-Covid hospital, the DM said and had illegally admitted Covid patients. Legal proceedings had already been initiated against them, he said.

Also Read: Death due to lack of oxygens is genocide by those responsible for ensuring its procurement and supply: Allahabad HC

In the case of a hospital in Meerut, the High Court directed the DM there to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the death of Covid patients after the latter was unable to give a satisfactory answer as to the cause, despite asserting that it was not for the lack of oxygen. The allegation was that the patients had died because of a shortage of oxygen cylinders.

“The District Magistrate, Meerut, in our considered view, has not conducted an enquiry in the letter and spirit of the mandate contained in our order. He should have obtained specific information especially when judicial notice had been taken of the viral news item and concrete material should have been placed before us as a reply to our query”, the high court said.

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S.V. Raju, the Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the UP government claimed oxygen supply was no more an issue in U.P. though there were some gaps between demand and supply the gap was not so significant that any patient would die for want of oxygen. Besides, he submitted that oxygen generation had already started in the state and supply was continuous.

The court was hearing its suo motu case on Covid19 management.

In an earlier hearing in the matter, the high court had said the death of Covid patients only because there was no supply of oxygen to hospitals, was a criminal act and no less than genocide by those who had been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement and supply chain of liquid medical oxygen.

The bench had directed the district magistrates of Lucknow and Meerut to inquire within 48 hours into news items showing the death of Covid patients for want of oxygen.

“Stories of hoarding of oxygen cylinders and harassment meted out to those poor citizens who were begging for oxygen cylinders to save the life of their near and dear ones, both at the end of district administration and police administration are being viralled on social media,” the court said.

Click here to read the order