The Centre had filed a special leave petition challenging the order passed by Karnataka High Court on May 5 directing increase in oxygen quota of the state.
In its May 5 order the high court stated that it had no option but to issue a mandatory direction to the Centre to consider the state’s requisition made on April 30 and meanwhile directed the state to submit a fresh representation on requirement for the 7 days. The court has directed to increase the allocation to 1200MT on ad hoc basis until the Centre reconsiders its decision.
The allocation for the State of Karnataka stood at 802 MTs prior to 30 April 2021 and has been increased to 856 MTs from 1 May 2021 and 965 MTs from 5 May 2021. The minimum requirement of the State, as projected by the State Government on 5 May 2021, was 1162 MT and projected the requirement to go up to 1,792 MT by May 5.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that issue of allocation is of pan-India concern and allocations would become unworkable if directions are issued under Article 226 of the Constitution. He further submitted that the Centre was willing to engage with the State government and convene a meeting for resolving the demand of the State of Karnataka for the supply of oxygen.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that the high court direction is evidently an ad-interim direction, subject to such calibration as would be necessitated after the State of Karnataka and the Union Government have mutually attempted to resolve the issue. The order of the High Court does not preclude a mutual resolution by the two governments, since the proceedings are still pending, the court observed.
While refusing to interfere with the high court’s order, the Supreme Court held that the same was based on the need to maintain at least a minimum requirement as projected by the State Government until a decision on the representation is taken and the High Court is apprised. The court disposed off the petition while observing, “without enquiring into the wider issues sought to be raised at this stage (and keeping them open) there is no reason to entertain the Special Leave Petition.”
The order may be read here: