SC Refuses To Interfere in Karnataka HC’s Oxygen Allocation Order

The Supreme Court said that the Karnataka High Court’s order reflects “well-considered exercise of power”. 

2 min read
Supreme Court. 

On Friday, 7 May, the Supreme Court refused to interfere in Karnataka High Court’s order wherein the Central government was directed to immediately increase the allocation of oxygen to the state to 1,200 metric tonnes (MT) per day.

The Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud noted that after reading the order, the court came to the conclusion that it is a “well-calibrated” and thought-out order.

Supreme Court’s decision has come in an appeal filed by the Central government against the Karnataka High Court, wherein it was directed to increase the oxygen supply to Karnataka in light of rising cases of COVID-19. 

Cannot Keep People of Karnataka in Lurch

In today’s proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued before the court that such orders by the high courts will make the process of oxygen allocation “unworkable”.

“This leaves room for every high court to start examining and allocating oxygen...please order that this not be treated as a precedent.”
Solicitor General

The Supreme Court, however, refused to buy the Central government’s argument. It said that it is looking at the wider issue, and will not keep the people of Karnataka in the lurch in the meanwhile.

“We will not interfere with this today. It is a well-considered exercise of power by the high court. If it was a breach of executive power etc, then we would have considered.”
Supreme Court

Karnataka High Court Directs Centre To Increase Oxygen Allocation

Centre had moved an appeal against an order passed by the Karnataka High Court on Wednesdy, 5 May, wherein the court had noted that the required quantity of oxygen was not being allotted by the Centre to the state amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Bench went on to note that the Government of India has offered no explanation as to why buffer stock (of oxygen) is not there in Karnataka despite the Supreme Court's directions.

“Perhaps, if buffer stock of oxygen was there, the Chamarajanagar incident would not have happened.”
Karnataka High Court

Ultimately, the high court went on to direct the Central government to increase the allocation of oxygen to Karnataka.

(With inputs from Bar & Bench)

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