The Supreme Court on Saturday constitued a 12-member task force to formulate a methodology for distribution of medical oxygen to states and union territories amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said the rationale for constituting the task force at national level is to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge.
The Supreme Court's order comes amidst the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Many states are facing oxygen shortage because of rising cases.
The court said there is a need to ensure that allotment of oxygen to states and UTs is done on a scientific, rational and equitable basis. It must also allow for flexibility to meet unforseen demands due to emergencies which may arise within the allocated territories, it said.
The bench said the Union Cabinet Secretary will be the convenor of the task force and may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him, when necessary.
The top court said that the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be ex-officio member of the task force.
The task force can form area wise of region wise sub-groups, the court said, adding that it can also seek assistance from within or outside the government.
The task force will consist of the following members:
1. Secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (ex-officio member)
2. Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, Former Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata
3. Dr Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
4. Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru
5. Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
6. Dr JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
7. Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram
8. Dr Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund (Mumbai) and Kalyan (Maharashtra)
9. Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
10. Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), Delhi
11. Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai
12. Cabinet Secretary will be the convenor of the task force and also a member