Delhi HC directs Centre to supply oxygen to Max Hospitals at earliest

Delhi High Court slammed the Centre over shortage of oxygen supply for Covid-19 patients in Max Hospitals and questioned the government’s inaction over the high court’s order dated April 20.

Delhi High Court on Wednesday held the hearing of an urgent application over the shortage of oxygen supply and directed the central government to supply medical oxygen to six hospitals in the national capital at the earliest using any means necessary, reported the news agency ANI.

A bench of the HC issued the order while hearing a plea by Max Healthcare over the shortage of medical oxygen at its hospitals in Delhi-NCR.

Following are the hospitals included – Max Hospital (Saket), Max Smart Hospital (Saket), Max Hospital (Patparganj), Max Hospital (Shalimar Bagh), Max Hospital (Vaishali) and Max Hospital (Gurugram).

The Centre – represented by SG Tushar – informed the court that supply of oxygen is on its way and it will reach the hospital shortly and further pointed out that oxygen supply has been delivered at one of the Max Hospitals.

The high court was reportedly informed that 2,000 MT of medical oxygen would reach Max Hospital in Delhi’s Patparganj in two hours.

Earlier in the day, Max Healthcare issued a press statement saying that it had only a few hours of medical oxygen supply left. Over 1,400 Covid-19 patients are being treated at seven Max Healthcare hospitals, the statement went on to add.

However, Max Healthcare then moved to the high court seeking an urgent hearing over the same.

A bench of the Delhi HC comprised of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said the Centre was directed to protect the fundamental right to life of citizens who are seriously ill due to Covid-19 and require medical oxygen.

The Delhi High Court assured that it has full faith in the centre and it will deliver the oxygen. Patparganj hospital will get the supply of oxygen in 2 hours, added the Delhi High Court.

However, it further questioned about rest of the hospitals that are also facing a shortage of O2.

“You can pass an order as it is a national emergency, no industry will say no,” added Delhi HC while directing the centre.

During the hearing, the HC asked the centre to immediately cease the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes which will ultimately help in the smooth supply of the oxygen for the hospitals. The recent decision comes after several hospitals in Delhi raised their concerns over the shortage of oxygen supply for Covid-19 patients.

The bench questioned the government over the deteriorating conditions at the hospitals in Delhi. “Why govt is not waking to reality”, questioned the Delhi High Court while hearing an urgent application regarding the oxygen shortage at Max Hospital, reported news agency ANI.

Furthermore, the court targeted the government as it questioned, “How is this that the govt is so oblivious to the ground reality? We can’t have people dying?”

“Yesterday, we were told you were trying to import. What happened to that, HC asks. This is an emergency of such grave nature, HC added”, added the Delhi High Court in an urgent hearing on Wednesday.

The recent remarks come after the bench expressed its surprise over inaction by the central government despite the high court’s order dated April 20 in this regard.

“Yesterday, we passed a detailed order, including on the aspect of shortage of oxygen. We were informed that all industrial oxygen is being diverted for medical use except certain critical industries, inter alia, steel and petroleum. There were certain others running. However, it was not explained as to the nature of those industries. Counsel for Inox and Mr Jain submit that they are producing oxygen to their full capacity,” said the bench on Wednesday, as reported by India Today.

While the Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to immediately takeover production of oxygen from steel plant and petroleum plant, the bench has also asked the government to provide safe passage for the supply of oxygen from the place of production to the place of delivery.

The court maintained that its concern is not just for Delhi but all parts of the country.

The High Court curious to know about the centre’s hold over the Covid-19 situation and asked, “what the Centre is doing”, reported the news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal – through his Twitter handle – repeatedly highlighted the national capital’s condition in regards to the current Covid-19 situation and had appealed to the centre to provide more medical supplies for the state.

Furthermore, Max Hospitals in its in Delhi HC stated, “its hospital at Patparganj, has currently only 3 hrs of supply of oxygen& if oxygen runs out the life of 400 patients incl 262 covid patients is under threat. A no. of the patients are critical &on ventilator support & ICU”, reported ANI.

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