Lack of oxygen at a Delhi hospital today caused the tragic death of eight patients. On Saturday, 1st May 2021, issued a strict direction to the Central Government to ensure that the State receives the allocated quantity of 490 Million tons of oxygen today itself, “by whatever means”. A Bench comprising of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli issued the said directions in a special sitting on Saturday.
The Bench told the Central Government Counsel that, “We direct the Centre to ensure that Delhi receives its 490 MT oxygen supply today by whatever means”.
An exasperated Justice Sanghi told the Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, “Now the water has gone over our heads. Enough is enough”. The Judge told the Centre’s lawyer, “We are not asking for more than 490 MT. You have allocated it. Now it falls upon you to fulfil it”.
Although, the National Capital Territory of Delhi is to be allocated 490 MT by the Centre, the Bench observed that it remained only a paper allocation till date and the said quantity had been never received.
The Bench said that, “The allocation to Delhi has been in force from April 20 and not for a single day Delhi has received allocated supply”. The Court added that, it is for the Centre to arrange tankers as well.
The Bench directed the Central Government to ensure that the 490 MT allocated to Delhi must be sent to it today positively, effective from a week. The Court also said that if the directions are not implemented, the concerned authority should remain present in the Court on Monday.
The Bench also warned that it might consider contempt action against the Central Government officers in such a case, “If not implemented we will have the head of DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) shall remain present, in case of non-compliance we may consider initiating contempt proceedings”.
The Bench retorted when, ASG Chetan Sharma tried to persuade the Bench against passing the order by saying that the Supreme Court was also considering the same issue, by saying that “Don’t tell us that. Eight people have died. We can’t shut our eyes to people dying in Delhi”.
The Batra Hospital filed an urgent application which stated that it was facing acute shortage of medical oxygen. The Hospital also informed that 8 patients, including a doctor, who were in ICU died due to oxygen shortage.
The Bench directed the Centre to ensure the 4 oxygen tankers meant for Delhi, detained by Rajasthan, are released.
Delhi Government’s Counsel Advocate Rahul Mehra told the Bench that the oxygen situation was worsening and SOS calls were being received from many hospitals. Oxygen suppliers like Inox and Air Lindae have “gone dry”, added Mehra.