Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Health Rule of Law

Show cause why contempt action should not be taken for failing to supply oxygen to Delhi: HC slams Centre

The Bench noted that the Centre has still not supplied the allocated quantity of oxygen to Delhi, despite SC and HC orders

Sabrangindia 04 May 2021

Image Courtesy:indiatvnews.com

In today’s hearing before the Delhi High Court, the livid Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli pulled up the Centre and asked them to show cause as to why contempt of court action should not be initiated for non-compliance of orders passed with respect to the supply of oxygen to the National Capital for Covid patients.

Bar & Bench quoted the court saying, “We direct the Central government to show cause why contempt action should not be taken for non-compliance of our order of May 1 and Supreme Court order to supply the required oxygen to the Delhi Government.”

LiveLaw reported the Bench telling the Centre, “Are you living in ivory towers? Where are you living?... What you’re saying is that because the Delhi Government didn’t raise the demand people should be allowed to die now? Is this what it’s come to? You want to quibble while people are losing lives?”

The Court has accordingly directed the presence of Central government officers, Piyush Goyal and Sumita Dawra, on the next date of hearing after noting that the required supply has not reached the Delhi government.

On May 1, the Delhi High Court had directed the Central Government to ensure that Delhi receives the allocated quantity of 490 metric tons of oxygen today (May 1) itself “by whatever means”. The Bench had noted that although the said quantity has been allocated by the Centre to the Delhi government, it has merely been a “paper allocation” since the state has not received the supply.

Similarly, the Supreme Court also directed the Centre to ensure that the deficit in Delhi’s demand for 700 metric tons of oxygen per day is rectified on or before the midnight of May 3, according to a SabrangIndia report. It urged the Centre and state to cooperate on the issue and make sure the supply remains steady. “In the battle of shifting responsibility of supplying/off taking of oxygen, the lives of citizens cannot be put in jeopardy”, recorded the order.

But despite the High Court and Supreme Court orders, the court noted today that till date, oxygen had not been supplied to the National Capital either in terms of the Supreme Court order on 700 metric ton or its order on 490 metric ton supply.

The Additional Solicitor General (appearing for the Centre) Chetan Sharma, tried to argue that the Supreme Court had not directed the Central government to supply 700 MT to Delhi.  But the court responded`, “We disagree. A plain reading of the Supreme Court order shows that the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to supply by making good the deficit…”

In the order dated April 30, the Supreme Court clearly recorded in its order, “Having heard the submissions of both counsels on the issues pertaining to supply of oxygen to GNCTD, we note that the Central Government (on page 63) in its affidavit dated 23 April 2021 has admitted that the projected demand for GNCTD as of 20 April 2021 had increased by 133% from 300 MT/day to 700 MT/day. According to the figures of allocation given in the affidavit dated 23 April 2021 and the presentation given by Ms Dawra, the existing allocation of GNCTD remains at 490 MT/day. This situation must be remedied forthwith. The situation on the ground in Delhi is heart rending.”

The court had added, “During the course of the hearing, the Solicitor General has assured that henceforth he will ensure that the deficit of oxygen is rectified and supply is made to the GNCTD according to their projected demand (which may be revised in the future) on a day-by-day basis. We accept his submission and direct compliance within 2 days from the date of the hearing, that is, on or before midnight of 3 May 2021.”

Thus, today the High Court disagreed with the ASG’s submissions. Bar & Bench quoted the Division Bench saying, “We reject the submission that GNCTD is not entitled to receive 700 MT per day in light of existing infrastructure. It pains us that the aspect of supply of oxygen should be viewed in the way it is done by the central government…We see the grim reality everyday...The situation has come to this that hospitals have had to reduce the number of beds. On one hand, there is a need to augment capacities to meet the rising numbers, while on the other, the existing infrastructure is crumbling and available beds can’t be put to use.”

ASG Chetan Sharma reportedly argued that on the midnight of May 3, Delhi received 433 metric tons of oxygen and extra 307 metric tons was delivered on May 4 at 8:15 A.M. “We expect by evening there shall be enough oxygen”, he added. Rahul Mehra (appearing for the Delhi government) responded that it needs 590 metric tons more. “Citizens are dying,” he argued.

To this, based on a Bar & Bench report, ASG asked Mr. Mehra to not get into rhetoric and be so emotional. The court sternly remarked, “This is not rhetoric. Is it not a fact? Sorry, Mr Sharma. You may be blind, we are not. How can you be so insensitive? This is an emotional matter. People’s lives are at stake.”

The High Court recorded that the Centre has failed to comply with the court orders and said, “You (Centre’s counsels) don’t know (about the situation in Delhi)? You may put your head like an ostrich in the sand...we will not,” reported LiveLaw.

The Court also noted that Delhi has no cryogenic tankers that could enable the supply of oxygen. Emphasising on the Central government’s responsibility, the Bench said, “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 April 20 and not for a single day Delhi has received allocated supply.”

Related:

In the battle of shifting responsibility of supplying oxygen, citizen’s life cannot be jeopardised: SC
Enough is enough: Delhi HC after 8 Covid patients dead due to oxygen shortage in Batra Hospital 

Show cause why contempt action should not be taken for failing to supply oxygen to Delhi: HC slams Centre

The Bench noted that the Centre has still not supplied the allocated quantity of oxygen to Delhi, despite SC and HC orders

Image Courtesy:indiatvnews.com

In today’s hearing before the Delhi High Court, the livid Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli pulled up the Centre and asked them to show cause as to why contempt of court action should not be initiated for non-compliance of orders passed with respect to the supply of oxygen to the National Capital for Covid patients.

Bar & Bench quoted the court saying, “We direct the Central government to show cause why contempt action should not be taken for non-compliance of our order of May 1 and Supreme Court order to supply the required oxygen to the Delhi Government.”

LiveLaw reported the Bench telling the Centre, “Are you living in ivory towers? Where are you living?... What you’re saying is that because the Delhi Government didn’t raise the demand people should be allowed to die now? Is this what it’s come to? You want to quibble while people are losing lives?”

The Court has accordingly directed the presence of Central government officers, Piyush Goyal and Sumita Dawra, on the next date of hearing after noting that the required supply has not reached the Delhi government.

On May 1, the Delhi High Court had directed the Central Government to ensure that Delhi receives the allocated quantity of 490 metric tons of oxygen today (May 1) itself “by whatever means”. The Bench had noted that although the said quantity has been allocated by the Centre to the Delhi government, it has merely been a “paper allocation” since the state has not received the supply.

Similarly, the Supreme Court also directed the Centre to ensure that the deficit in Delhi’s demand for 700 metric tons of oxygen per day is rectified on or before the midnight of May 3, according to a SabrangIndia report. It urged the Centre and state to cooperate on the issue and make sure the supply remains steady. “In the battle of shifting responsibility of supplying/off taking of oxygen, the lives of citizens cannot be put in jeopardy”, recorded the order.

But despite the High Court and Supreme Court orders, the court noted today that till date, oxygen had not been supplied to the National Capital either in terms of the Supreme Court order on 700 metric ton or its order on 490 metric ton supply.

The Additional Solicitor General (appearing for the Centre) Chetan Sharma, tried to argue that the Supreme Court had not directed the Central government to supply 700 MT to Delhi.  But the court responded`, “We disagree. A plain reading of the Supreme Court order shows that the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to supply by making good the deficit…”

In the order dated April 30, the Supreme Court clearly recorded in its order, “Having heard the submissions of both counsels on the issues pertaining to supply of oxygen to GNCTD, we note that the Central Government (on page 63) in its affidavit dated 23 April 2021 has admitted that the projected demand for GNCTD as of 20 April 2021 had increased by 133% from 300 MT/day to 700 MT/day. According to the figures of allocation given in the affidavit dated 23 April 2021 and the presentation given by Ms Dawra, the existing allocation of GNCTD remains at 490 MT/day. This situation must be remedied forthwith. The situation on the ground in Delhi is heart rending.”

The court had added, “During the course of the hearing, the Solicitor General has assured that henceforth he will ensure that the deficit of oxygen is rectified and supply is made to the GNCTD according to their projected demand (which may be revised in the future) on a day-by-day basis. We accept his submission and direct compliance within 2 days from the date of the hearing, that is, on or before midnight of 3 May 2021.”

Thus, today the High Court disagreed with the ASG’s submissions. Bar & Bench quoted the Division Bench saying, “We reject the submission that GNCTD is not entitled to receive 700 MT per day in light of existing infrastructure. It pains us that the aspect of supply of oxygen should be viewed in the way it is done by the central government…We see the grim reality everyday...The situation has come to this that hospitals have had to reduce the number of beds. On one hand, there is a need to augment capacities to meet the rising numbers, while on the other, the existing infrastructure is crumbling and available beds can’t be put to use.”

ASG Chetan Sharma reportedly argued that on the midnight of May 3, Delhi received 433 metric tons of oxygen and extra 307 metric tons was delivered on May 4 at 8:15 A.M. “We expect by evening there shall be enough oxygen”, he added. Rahul Mehra (appearing for the Delhi government) responded that it needs 590 metric tons more. “Citizens are dying,” he argued.

To this, based on a Bar & Bench report, ASG asked Mr. Mehra to not get into rhetoric and be so emotional. The court sternly remarked, “This is not rhetoric. Is it not a fact? Sorry, Mr Sharma. You may be blind, we are not. How can you be so insensitive? This is an emotional matter. People’s lives are at stake.”

The High Court recorded that the Centre has failed to comply with the court orders and said, “You (Centre’s counsels) don’t know (about the situation in Delhi)? You may put your head like an ostrich in the sand...we will not,” reported LiveLaw.

The Court also noted that Delhi has no cryogenic tankers that could enable the supply of oxygen. Emphasising on the Central government’s responsibility, the Bench said, “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 April 20 and not for a single day Delhi has received allocated supply.”

Related:

In the battle of shifting responsibility of supplying oxygen, citizen’s life cannot be jeopardised: SC
Enough is enough: Delhi HC after 8 Covid patients dead due to oxygen shortage in Batra Hospital 

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020
hashimpura

Hashimpura Massacre

The Lemmings of Hashimpura

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020
hashimpura

Hashimpura Massacre

The Lemmings of Hashimpura

Archives