Uttarakhand HC pulls up Centre for “callous attitude” on oxygen allocation

The Central Government’s officer failed to appear for hearing on the Covid-19 suo motu matter

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

The Uttarakhand High Court continued hearing the suo motu matter on Covid management today, and reportedly pulled up the Central Government for not appearing before it to discuss the oxygen allocation to the state of Uttarakhand.   

Bar & Bench quoted the Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan saying, “I fail to see why someone in the Central government fails to see the logic. I am surprised to hear that someone has said that he is too busy to appear. If he wants, I will issue summons. This shows the callous attitude of the central government.”

What upset the Bench also comprising Justice Alok Verma was that the oxygen produced in Uttarakhand was being given to other states without fulfilling its own requirements. “Why is it that the government is not conceding to a reasonable request of the state? Instead of diverting our (Uttarakhand’s) oxygen to Uttar Pradesh? All we are saying is, instead of asking us to import oxygen from Jamshedpur and Durgapur, which takes time, costs, why can’t we take it from our own backyard?”, remarked the court.

The court was further irked at the absence of the officer representing the Centre to explain how the oxygen allocation is being done in the state. According to a Bar & Bench report, the court said, “Ask the concerned representative of the Central government department to explain. I will not take this answer that I am too busy to attend the court.” The court was apprised that Uttarakhand is being allocated 183 metric tons of oxygen, currently.

Amit Negi, a government official in the Chief Secretary’s office, also reiterated that the Central government is yet to respond to the communications made to it with regard to the issue. “I am surprised at the callous attitude of the central government. Every request that the State of Uttarakhand is making is falling on deaf ears”, said the court.

Court pulls up State for violations during Char Dham Yatra

The Division Bench slammed the State Government for not ensuring compliance with Covid protocols while holding religious events or gatherings like Kumbh Mela and Char Dham Yatra amid Covid-19.

The Bench reportedly observed that in Badrinath and Kedarnath, priests have been defying Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. LiveLaw reported that Chief Justice RS Chauhan said, “In Kedarnath and Badrinath temples, I have seen videos that social distancing is not being followed by the Priests. Even if the deity is being worshipped, you can’t let 23 priests enter the temple. Who is the person appointed by the State to monitor this?”

He further added that such videos are causing embarrassment to the State. “First, we allowed Kumbh Mela, 2021 and now this is being done (Char Dham Yatra). Please get a chopper and visit Char Dham, go to Kedarnath and Badrinath and see for yourself, what is happening,” he said to the Government counsel.

The court went on to say that the Government is accountable to the people of the state, and at a time when the priority should be to protect its people from Covid, Black Fungus, the upcoming third wave, decision makers are carelessly conducting the Char Dham Yatra.

The court through its order on May 10 had ordered the state government to adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Char Dham Management. But with some viral videos and social media posts, the court noted that none of the social distancing norms are being followed with a large number of priests moving around in pilgrimage centres, Badrinath and Kedarnath.

On May 10, the court had directed, “Although the Char Dham Yatra has been suspended by the Government, the Government must ensure that the SOP issued by the Char Dham Management is adhered to strictly. Moreover, the steps required for implementing the said SOP should be worked out immediately by the Government in association with the Management of the Char Dham.”


State did not pay heed to Covid second wave warnings: Uttarakhand HC
Increase Covid testing, cremation facilities: Uttarakhand HC issues directions
Can’t let Char Dham yatra become hotspot, Uttarakhand HC takes stock of Covid preparedness



Related Articles