The need for oxygen is now, says Delhi HC; pulls up Centre for inadequate oxygen supply in the capital

THE Delhi High Court Tuesday pulled up the Central Government over inadequate oxygen supplies in various Covid hospitals in Delhi.

It directed the Centre to forthwith implement its decision taken on April 18 to divert supplies from industrial use for medical use.

The court said it did not find any justification in implementing the said order only from April 22.

“The need for oxygen is now. Any delay in this regard would lead to loss of precious lives. We, therefore, direct the Central Government to implement the said decision forthwith, and make available oxygen to hospitals which are running out of their supplies, lest there is grave loss of life suffered by patients being treated thereat”, the court said.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also issued contempt notice to M/s INOX for not complying with the court’s order to restore the supply of 140 MT of oxygen- which should, in turn, be distributed to needy hospitals of Delhi.

It said the Managing Director of M/S INOX would have to be personally present during the hearing on April 22. It also directed the Chief Secretary of UP to also remain present during the hearing.

The contempt notice came to be issued by the court after senior advocate Rahul Mehra, for the Delhi Government, informed it that there was a grave shortage of medical oxygen in Delhi’s hospitals, and the requirement according to him was 700 MT per day.

Mehra pointed out the non-compliance of the court’s order dated April 19 whereby it required M/s INOX to honor its contract with the Delhi Government and Delhi hospitals and to supply 140 MT of Oxygen to Delhi. He added the reason for the noncompliance was stated to be the possible law and order situation that may be created, in case the M/s INOX were to transport the oxygen from Uttar Pradesh, where the manufacturing unit of INOX is situated, to Delhi.

Yesterday evening both the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi took to Twitter to flag the shortage of oxygen in Delhi’s hospital.

As per reports, one oxygen tankers arrived late on Tuesday at some of these places, including Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, which were merely hours away from running out of stock.

Click here to read the order

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