New Delhi, Apr 21 (ILNS) Looking at the health emergency that erupted due to the scarcity of oxygen at various hospitals in the national capital, the Delhi High Court today directed the Centre and the AAP government to fulfill the demands, saying “Beg, Borrow or Steal, but these demands have to be met.”
“Beg, Borrow or Steal, but these demands have to be met. It is their fundamental right, and it is our bounden duty to help them,” said a Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli.
The observations were passed during an urgent hearing on a plea filed by Max Hospitals in Delhi, seeking urgent replenishment of Oxygen supply, so that the lives of over 1,400 COVID patients, who were admitted to the hospital, were not endangered.
The Bench said that the Centre shall explore all possible alternatives to ensure that all hospitals in the national capital get Oxygen.
The court posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow, after noting the stand of the Centre that there will be unobstructed supply of oxygen to Delhi.
“We hope that the requirements of hospitals and oxygen supply will continue to COVID patients and others, till we take up the matter tomorrow,” the Bench said.
The Court also directed the Delhi government to initiate the logistical work for the supply of the quantity of oxygen, which is said to be not allotted out of the allocated quantity.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who joined in the second leg of the hearing, which began at 2120 hrs, informed the Bench that the supply is on its way.
Sumita Dawra, Additional Secretary, responsible for Oxygen supply, apprised the Court, “We also allowed industrial cylinders to be used for medical purposes, after due purging. Industrial tankers were also used for medical purposes. Today, we are in a position to use industrial oxygen because of the decision taken last year. Country’s production capacity, both industrial and medical, is around 7,200 Metric Tonnes a day. The requirement is over 8,000 MT now.” She further told the Bench that stocks from steel plants are added for medical use.
Responding to her submissions, the Bench said, “We appreciate the steps taken to divert oxygen. But today you said, plants can use captive oxygen produced by them. It is the responsibility of the state to arrange. You cannot say we can arrange this much and people have to die. We cannot accept that. We cannot see people dying because oxygen is not available.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, along with Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and Advocate Monika Arora appeared for the Centre, while Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra and Advocate Satyakam appeared for the Delhi Government. Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi represented the petitioner (Max Hospitals). ILNS/ANB/RJ