Enough Is Enough, Supply 490MT Oxygen to Delhi: Delhi HC to Centre

Commenting on inadequate supply of oxygen to Delhi, the court said the “water has gone above the head”.

Updated
Law
2 min read
Delhi High Court. 
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On Saturday, 1 May, the Delhi High Court directed the Central government to supply 490MT of oxygen to Delhi. The court noted that the target of 490MT has not been met since the demand was first made on 20 April.

Issuing strict direction to the Central government, the Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli further said that if the requirement of 490MT oxygen is not met, action will be taken under contempt of court. 

'Water Has Gone Above the Head'

Asking the Central government to ensure supply of 490MT oxygen to Delhi “by whatever means”, the court said:

Water has gone above the head. Now we mean business. You will arrange everything now... You made an allocation. You fulfill it. 
Delhi High Court

The court noted that Delhi is not an industrial state and has no cryogenic tankers that could enable acquisition to facilitate the supply of oxygen. Therefore, the responsibility has to be fixed on the Central government.

“It falls on the Central government to arrange tankers ...(else) it only remains a paper allocation. The allocation to Delhi has been in force from 20 April and not for a single day Delhi has received the allocated supply.”
Delhi High Court

The court also clarified that in case its present direction is not complied with, the authority/Secretary has to remain present before it.

We may even consider issuing contempt proceedings, the court added. 

Why Less Oxygen in Delhi, if Maha, MP Got More

In Friday, 30 April’s hearing, the court had pulled up the Centre, asking for its rationale behind the oxygen allocation between the states.

“Why did Delhi not receive the amount of oxygen it had requested, if some other states like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were given more oxygen than they had asked for?”
Delhi High Court

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had projected the capital’s oxygen demand at 780 metric tonnes, as several hospitals have been reporting a severe shortage of medical oxygen for the past two weeks. However, it has been supplied with 490 metric tonne of oxygen.

Referring to the allocation in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the court said, “When the demand was 445, how do you allocate 540 and if the demand is 1,500, how do you allocate 1,616?”

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