Allahabad HC not satisfied with DM Meerut’s response over oxygen shortage

The court, however, asked DM (Lucknow) to take action against those hospitals that spread ‘unnecessary panic’


The Allahabad High Court has directed the District Magistrate, Lucknow, to file an action taken report with respect to two private hospitals that claimed that several Covid-19 patients died in their premises due to shortage of oxygen supply.

Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar directed the District Magistrate, Lucknow to submit a detailed report of the action taken against the two private hospitals “if in his final opinion it is found that mischief has been committed by them deliberately endangering lives of innocent and creating unnecessary panic to serve the vested interests.”

On May 5, the Allahabad High Court had made scathing observations against the Uttar Pradesh Government in view of viral news and social media posts regarding death of Covid patients due to lack of oxygen in Meerut and Lucknow.

Subsequently on May 7, the DM told the Bench that he had already submitted a report on Sun Hospital and Samarth Hospital. He explained that he had conducted a preliminary investigation through SDM (Sadar) Prafulla Kumar, and it was revealed that Sun Hospital already had sufficient oxygen cylinders as six jumbo oxygen cylinders were reported to be available on the day when a notice was published by the hospital about scarcity. Thus, “according to him, it was quite apparent that the hospital had with a mala fide intention to create panic amongst the people, posted the notice notoriously showing scarcity of the oxygen in the hospital”, recorded the Bench.

He further submitted that Samarth Hospital was a non-Covid hospital and had illegally admitted Covid patients. The government has issued show cause notices to both private hospitals and the Bench was informed that action will be taken in due course.

So far as death of Covid patients due to lack of oxygen in Meerut is concerned, the District Magistrate, Meerut, submitted that the deaths were not caused due to shortage of oxygen but “for some other reasons”. He submitted that proper oxygen was available as per the requirement of the hospital and there was no scarcity of the same. On a pointed query being made as to what was the exact stock in the hospital on the fateful day, the District Magistrate, Meerut, could not give a satisfactory reply. He also could not respond to the cause of the deaths if it was not for want of oxygen.

Accordingly, the Bench observed, “The District Magistrate, Meerut, in our considered view, has not conducted enquiry in the letter and spirit of the mandate contained in our order. He should have obtained specific information especially when judicial notice had been taken of the viral news item and concrete material should have been placed before us as a reply to our query.”

Taking stock of all facilities in the State, the Bench said that there is ‘no time to relax’ amidst the raging pandemic. “Although all efforts taken till now are quite appreciable but we hasten to add that this is no time to relax as a lot of action is still needed to be taken more especially in the field of public health care, facility and overall public health infrastructure in view of the impending threat of a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.”

The order may be read here:


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