On Friday (April 30, 2021), the Supreme Court requested the Centre to respond to a heightened demand for 700 metric tons of oxygen in the National City in order to treat Covid-19 patients.
Justice D Y Chandrachud told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, "There is no ethnic Delhi, and Delhi represents the country. You have to push through forget that someone (Delhi) can't lift your oxygen, as you have to save lives. As the centre, you have a particular responsibility."
The bench also informed the Delhi government's senior counsel Rahul Mehra, that it was not the time to bicker politically on the shortage of supply.
"We have to send the message to the government's highest level that we do not want to lose lives in political struggle in this humanitarian crisis. During elections, politics can be and interact with the Centre," it stated.
While hearing a Suo Moto matter, the bench including Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra highlighted the matter of shortage of Oxygen Cylinders and said, "Delhi, like Goa, is non-industrial and cannot all be at the same board. The Centre was supposed to supply tankers."
To this, Tushar Mehta stated before the bench, "Oxygen is not really available on the ground in Delhi. Like in Gujarat, you need to tell us the difference between now and the next day of the listening in the foreseeable future."
The court said that their hearing on the issue of Suo Moto should change people's lives. In response, Tushar Mehta claimed that no country could expect a demand of this magnitude, maintaining that 10,000 Mt of oxygen were available.
He also said, "The difficulty is that the centre has extracted anything from any oxygen source. Logistics of transport at state level can be handled."
Tushar Mehta further stated that the Centre provided help in this regard, with more and more petrol tankers alleviating the problem. He said there is a 24x7 virtual control room which can be contacted by any state for oxygen if necessary.
Sumita Dawra, additional secretary, who was herself COVID positive, made an address to the court stating that the situation remained dynamic in a crisis that had been unprecedented. Around 6000 MT oxygen was manufactured in August 2020 which has been raised to 9000 MT, with efforts on to raise it to 15,000 MT.