Delhi HC raps Centre, says both govts responsible for getting oxygen to capital

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With the Central government telling the Delhi government that its efforts with regard to the transportation of liquid oxygen “have not been up to the mark”, the Delhi High Court on Monday said it was the responsibility of both the governments and pulled up the Centre for saying that getting liquid oxygen to the national capital was not its job.

The court also took note of INOX’s submission that its four tankers were seized by Rajasthan government on Sunday, and said it expects the state government to respect the central government and court orders.

When Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta said the Delhi government needs to have “competent officers” and needs to put its system in place, the court reacted sharply and said the allocation plan should be workable.

Delhi has been unable to so far pick up its allocated supply from West Bengal and Orissa.“Same can be said about you. Same can be said about your allocations,” said the court, adding, “What prima facie appears to us is that you are making these allegations… Once you make allocations they should be workable. Now you tell INOX to pick up from Air Liquide but tankers are stopped…”

The court earlier said it had asked the Centre to look at the possibility of reworking the allocations to reduce the distance in transportation of oxygen. “We also had said that over the weekend, you may as an interim measure do, because Delhi is not getting its quota. Lives have been lost,” it added,However, Mehta responded: “Not because of non supply by me, for god’s sake…”. The court said it may not be because of supply but by not reaching Delhi.After INOX, which has been asked to lift medical oxygen from Air Liquide too for Delhi, told the court that four of its tankers have been taken over by the Rajasthan government, the division bench said it hopes and expects Rajasthan government will honour orders passed by Central government and the court.“

We will only remind that any intervention in the matter of supply of medical liquid oxygen at this stage would tantamount to endangering hundreds of human lives, if not more. It serves no purpose for anyone to cause any obstruction in the smooth flow of much needed medical oxygen. Stoppage of tankers by one state would have a snowballing effect…,” said the court.SG Tushar Mehta earlier told the court that strict action would be taken and it would be ensured that the tankers are freed so that they can proceed to their destination.

A senior officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs told the court that the Rajasthan government has not yet promised the release of these tankers due to shortage there.

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