The Supreme Court (SC) has on Friday asked the Centre to ensure it supplies 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to the national capital everyday until further orders. The order comes amid criticism of the Centre for supplying less oxygen to Delhi than the demand. The national capital is facing oxygen shortage because of a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, with many patients losing their lives as hospitals run out of oxygen.
Supreme Court refuses to entertain the petition filed by the Centre, against the direction of Karnataka High Court's May 5 order directing supply of oxygen to the state to up to 1200 MT per day from the sanctioned allocation of 965 MT.— ANI (@ANI) May 7, 2021
Taking note of the submission by the Delhi government on the deficient supply of LMO, a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud warned it will pass orders against officials concerned if 700 MT of LMO is not supplied daily. The apex court had recently stayed contempt proceedings against central government officials initiated by the Delhi High Court over the issue.
As the Centre complies with the SC order, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday thanked the Centre for supplying Delhi with 730 metric tonnes of oxygen and requested hospitals to increase COVID beds that they had to cut down due to shortage of the life-saving gas in the past few days.
If 700 MT of daily oxygen supply is ensured by the Centre, Delhi government can set up around 9,000-9,500 more oxygen beds, he said.
The Delhi High Court had last week issued a show cause notice to Centre for not supplying 490 MT oxygen to Delhi as per its order or 700 MT as per the Supreme Court's order. It had also sought the personal appearance of Centre's officials.
Meanwhile, in another setback to the Centre, the SC on Friday refused to interfere with the Karnataka High Court order, asking the Centre to increase the daily liquid medical oxygen (LMO) allocation for the state from 965 MT to 1200 MT for treating COVID-19 patients.
A bench comprising justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said the High Court order of May 5 is well calibrated, deliberated and judicious exercise of power. The SC refused to accept the Centre's contention that if every High Court starts passing orders for allocating oxygen, it will throw the supply network of the country haywire.