The Centre moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday over the show cause notice of contempt issued by the Delhi High Court. The show cause notice was issued by the High Court on Tuesday asking the Centre to explain why the court should not initiate contempt proceedings against it over a case related to deficit in oxygen supply in the national capital.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that case may be heard today depending on the convenience of the special bench hearing the suo motu matter.
The notice was issued by the high court over the 'non-compliance' of the Supreme Court's May 2 order that directed the Centre to rectify the issue of shortage of medical oxygen in Delhi hospitals on or before the midnight of May 3.
"You can put your head in sand like ostrich, we will not," the high court said, reprimanding the Centre. The high court said that the Centre said that a compliance affidavit is being filed in Supreme Court. "We fail to understand what good a compliance affidavit will do when the required oxygen is not being brought to Delhi? Even the allocated oxygen has not been delivered on a single day," the high court said.
"You are 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 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 provide 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi and not just 490 MT.
"We had told you contempt is the last thing in our mind but it is certainly in our mind and don't drive us to that last point. We mean business now. Enough is enough. Be clear on this. We are not going to take no for an answer. There is the Supreme Court order and now we are also saying that you will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means. We would not hear anything except compliance," the bench said.
The bench further added that just because the Delhi government earlier demanded less oxygen, the people of the city should suffer. The Centre shouldn't ignore the revised requirement and let people die, it said.