The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the Centre to show cause as to why contempt not be initiated against it for failing to conform with order on provide of oxygen to Delhi for treating COVID-19 patients.
“You’ll be able to put your head in sand like an ostrich, we can not,” the high court told the central government.
It added that the Supreme Court has already directed, and now the high court could also be saying that the Centre must provide 700 MT oxygen day by day to Delhi correct absent by whatever means.
“You are a part of the city and not seeing the situation yourself. Are you living in ivory towers?,” the bench said.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also rejected the Centre’s submission that Delhi was once not entitled to 700 metric tonnes of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure.
It said the Supreme Court’s April 30 detailed order directed the central government to supply 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi and not just 490 MT.
“We had told you contempt is the very last thing in our brain but it is certainly in our brain and do not drive us to that final point. We intent trade now. Enough is enough. Be lucid on this. We don’t seem to be going to take no for an answer. There is Supreme Court order and now we are also saying that you are going to have to provide 700 MT oxygen day by day to Delhi correct absent by whatever means. We would not hear anything with the exception of compliance,” an annoyed bench orally observed.
The bench, which heard for just about five hours the matter in terms of oxygen crisis and other COVID-19 related issues that Delhi is grappling with, said, “We see grim reality on a daily basis of people not in a position to protected oxygen or ICU beds in hospitals which have reduced beds because of the gas scarcity.”
“We, due to this fact, direct the central government to show cause why contempt be not initiated for not only non-compliance of our order of May as also of order of the Supreme Court dated April 30. To reply to the said notice, we direct the presence of Piyush Goyal and Sumita Dawra (senior Central government officers) the following day,” it said.
The bench also said just because the Delhi government earlier demanded less oxygen, the people of the city must not suffer and the Centre shouldn’t disregard the revised requirement and let people die.
On the submission of ASG Chetan Sharma that the compliance affidavit of April 30 order will be filed in the Supreme Court by the following day morning, the bench said, “We fail to understand what good a compliance affidavit will be do when as a matter of fact 700 MT of oxygen isn’t delivered to Delhi. Even the earlier allocated 490 MT and revised 590 MT isn’t delivered even for a unmarried day.”
Sharma submitted that the apex court has not directed provide of 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi.
The court disagreed with him and said a plain reading of the top court’s order showed that it had directed the central government to provide 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen by making good the deficit.
The bench famous that the apex court’s order recorded Delhi government counsel’s submission that as against the demand of 700 MT of oxygen per day, manufacturers have been in a position to provide only 440 MT.
It said the apex court famous that the projected demand of Delhi in coming days will be 976 MT of oxygen by increasing the medical infrastructure and that the situation will have to be remedied forthwith.
It asked as to what does this direction of the apex court intent and what was once the doubt in it. “This itself is enough to show that the Supreme Court has directed that Delhi must be given with 700 MT of oxygen per day. Whether there was once any doubt, it could be cleared by further reading of the paragraph.”
The bench said the top court had famous the assurance provided by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the national capital will not suffer and its demands of oxygen will be met.
Alternatively, the high court said this assurance has not been met and it has seen how big and small hospitals have been rushing to court on SOS basis because of lack of oxygen to treat critical patients.
It pains us that the aspect of provide of oxygen for remedy of COVID-19 patients in Delhi must be viewed in the way it has been done by the Centre, it said.
It added that on one hand there is want to augment capacities to meet the rising numbers, while alternatively, the existing infrastructure is crumbling and to be had beds cannot be put to use.
After the court dictated its order, ASG Sharma said that he has taken the order and it can be uploaded the following day morning only.
To this, the bench said, “No, we can upload it today itself.”
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