Oxygen shortage: Delhi HC cracks down on Centre, says it’s inaction may attract contempt of court charge
The court recorded that it was matter of fact that till date, oxygen had not been supplied to the national Capital either in terms of the SC order on 700 MT supply or its order on 490 MT supply
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Central government to show cause as to why action for contempt of court should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of orders passed with respect to the supply of oxygen to the national Capital.
You can put your head in sand like an ostrich, we will not, the HC said to the Central government.
A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli ordered, "We direct Central government to show cause why contempt action should not be taken for non-compliance of our order of May 1 and Supreme Court order.."
The court has accordingly directed the presence of Central government officers, Piyush Goyal and Sumita Dawra, on the next date of hearing.
The court recorded that it was matter of fact that till date, oxygen had not been supplied to the national Capital either in terms of the Supreme Court order on 700 MT supply or its order on 490 MT supply, Bar & Bench reported.
As Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma argued that the Supreme Court had not directed the Central government to supply 700 MT to Delhi, the court said, “We disagree. A plain reading of the Supreme Court order shows that the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to supply by making good the deficit.."
The court further rejected the Centre's stand that Delhi's demand of 700 MT could not be accepted, noting, "We reject the submission that GNCTD is not entitled to receive 700 MT per day in light of existing infrastructure. It pains us that the aspect of supply of oxygen should be viewed in the way is done by the Central government.."
It added, "We see the grim reality everyday.. the situation has come to this that hospitals have had to reduce the number of beds..On one hand, there is need to augment capacities to meet the rising numbers, while on the other, the existing infrastructure is crumbling and available bed can't be put to use.."
The court also opined that the assurance given by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to the Supreme Court that the demands of Delhi would be taken care of has not been fulfilled.
"..(the) assurance has not been fulfilled as small and large nursing homes and individuals are running to us..(with SoS calls)," HC said.
On May 1, the court had directed the Centre to ensure that the national Capital receives its allocated share of 490MT of oxygen.
The court also noted that Delhi has no cryogenic tankers that could enable the supply of oxygen. Thus, fixing responsibility on the Central government, the Court said, "It falls on the Central government to arrange tankers ..(else) it only remains a paper allocation. The allocation to Delhi has been in force from April 20 and not for a single day Delhi has received allocated supply."
Published: 04 May 2021, 6:36 PM