As Delhi witnesses a medical oxygen crisis, the Delhi High Court issued a notice of contempt to an oxygen manufacturer, M/s INOX, for failing to comply with its earlier order to supply oxygen to the Delhi government.
On Monday, 19 April, a division bench had directed M/s INOX to honour its contract to supply 140 MT of oxygen to Delhi but the firm had not complied with the court order.
Delhi government’s counsel senior advocate Rahul Mehra argued that Delhi was facing a grave deficit of medical oxygen, and the requirement was 700 MT per day.
Comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, the division bench ordered: "Since M/s INOX has not complied with our last order dated 19.04.2021, we direct issuance of Notice of Contempt to M/s INOX returnable on 22.04.2021. Notice be served through email. We direct the Managing Director/Owner of M/s INOX to personally remain present during the hearing on the next date of hearing," LiveLaw quoted.
Appearing for Delhi government, Mehra also iterated that the reason for the company’s non-compliance is possibly the law and order situation that may be created, in case the M/s INOX were to transport the oxygen from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi.
Following which the bench asked the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh to be present during the next hearing date, which is 22 April.
These observations were made in the case of Rakesh Malhotra vs Union of India, which is a PIL considering aspects related to availability of COVID-19 beds, oxygen supply, RT-PCR tests among other facilities in the national capital, LiveLaw reported.
The High Court on an earlier occasion said that sufficient oxygen was not being supplied to COVID-19 patients in the national capital and asked the Centre why there was a delay in restricting its use in industries.
“Industries can wait. Patients cannot. Human lives are at stake,” the bench had instructed the Centre.
This came in the backdrop of Delhi’s Max Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram hospital saying on Tuesday, 20 April, that their supplies have been disrupted and they only have a few hours worth of medical oxygen left.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal had also tweeted that the hospitals in the capital city were facing an acute shortage of oxygen and urged the Centre to take action.