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“We mean business. You will arrange everything now”: Delhi HC threatens contempt proceedings against centre if Delhi does not get allocated oxygen

The Delhi High Court also ordered the hospitals to provide a list of Covid-19 patients who are staying in hospitals beyond 10 days

The Delhi High Court today slammed the union govt for inadequate supply to the hospitals in Delhi. During the hearing on the Covid-19 situation, the High Court expressed dissatisfaction that Delhi is not getting its allotted share of oxygen from plants outside the state, and threated to file contempt of court case against the Central Govt if Delhi does not get its allotted quantity of 490 MT of oxygen on Saturday.

A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli of the Delhi High Court is hearing a batch of oxygen shortage in Delhi, and today’s hearing was also like the previous days, with hospitals complaining that they are running out of oxygen. While the hospitals said that they are not getting adequate supply, the suppliers said that they are supplying the allotted quantity but the hospitals are demanding more oxygen.

After learning that hospitals in the capital are still struggling for oxygen, the High Court ordered the Central Govt to ensure that the 490 MT of oxygen allocated to Delhi is delivered to it today positively. The court said that the daily allocation can’t remain on paper, it has to implemented. The High Court added that in case of non-compliance with this order, they may consider initiating contempt of court proceedings against the centre.

The High Court issued the order to the centre to deliver the allocated oxygen after the Delhi govt informed that it has no oxygen in reserve to meet the SOS calls of hospitals for oxygen. “We direct Centre to ensure that Delhi receives its 490MT oxygen supply today by whatever means,” the Court order said.

“The water has gone over our head. Enough is enough,” the court said. The high court added that the quantity of 490 MT oxygen was allocated by the centre only, and they should ensure that this quantity is delivered to Delhi. “Does it mean someday you will stop supply completely to Delhi? Should we close our eyes to people dying in Delhi? Who is asking for even a gram more?” the court said.

The bench also said that it was the responsibility of the central govt to arrange for tankers to supply oxygen, and without the tankers, the allocation remains only on paper. “The allocation to Delhi has been in force from April 20 and not for a single day Delhi has received allocated supply,” the court said.

The court added that if the allocated quantity is not delivered, the concerned authority or the secretary has to remain present before it.

When Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma sought to intervene, the Court remarked, “Water has gone above the head. Now we mean business. You will arrange everything now. You made an allocation. You fulfil it.” The court said it can no longer wait as 8 people died in Batra Hospital due to lack of oxygen.

ASG Sharma requested the court not to say anything on contempt, and appealed to delay the order by half an hour so that officials can respond to the court. But the court didn’t listen to him and adjourned the matter to Monday after passing the order for the centre.

The Delhi High Court also ordered the hospitals to provide a list of Covid-19 patients who are staying in hospitals beyond 10 days. The court noted that most Covid-19 cases are resolved within 10-14 days, and therefore a substantial number of beds should become available due to discharge of such recovered patients. Therefore, the court ordered the hospitals to submit the details of admissions and discharge of Covid-19 patients. The court said that hospitals should provide information on who had stayed more than 10 days, and the reason for such ‘overstay’.

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