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“Delhi is not an industrial state; how will it get tankers?”: Delhi High Court asks Centre on Oxygen supply

By Athira Nair      03 May, 2021 05:05 PM      0 Comments
Delhi high court Oxygen Supply

A special Sunday sitting was held in the Delhi HC in view of the recent issue of oxygen supplies to Delhi hospitals amidst the COVID surge. 

It discussed as to who has the responsibility to arrange tankers for transportation of oxygen-Centre or Delhi Government.

The Central Government had filed an application before the Delhi HC seeking a summary of the order passed, in which the Court had given warning to the Central Govt. of contempt of action if 490 MT of Oxygen was not supplied to the capital.

The Bench had passed the order after the tragedy of 8 COVID patients in batra hospital, who died due to lack of oxygen. The Bench observed that in order to prevent this, the Centre has to ensure an ongoing supply of oxygen.

The division bench consisted of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Government argued that the liability doesn’t lie with the Centre.

Senior Adv. Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi Government, questioned, why can’t Centre arrange tankers for Delhi using its vast resources. Mehra further emphasized that despite Delhi being a non-industrial state, it managed to get some tankers by requesting industrial professionals.         He further elucidated that if the non-industrial such as Delhi can arrange for oxygen, why can’t the Central Govt. do so?

Mehra states that it was never the responsibility of Delhi Government to get arrange for oxygen.

Solicitor General, urged the court to not go into the responsibility of this arrangement, as it would threaten the management of COVID in India. 

“Would your Lordship want a situation where every State says it is not a State subject? Let us respond to the situation as citizens of the country”, added the SG.

He urged the court to not disturb the chain of supply which is functioning very smoothly.

He further requested the bench to at least modify the contempt part as it can have a snowballing effect. The Bench made it loud and clear that contempt is the last thing on the mind of the court. 

In response to Justice Sanghi’s observation that Delhi is in a special position, the SG said that no other states are complaining regarding oxygen.

“Because they are getting oxygen,” the he Bench replied to the above stated.

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