The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it was the Centre’s responsibility to supply medical oxygen to all the hospitals, directing it to provide the oxygen by “whatever means”.
“Beg, borrow or steal. It is a national emergency,” a division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said.
The bench also asked the Centre to protect the fundamental right of citizens who are seriously ill due to Covid-19 and require medical oxygen. If necessary, the court said, the Centre should divert the entire production of oxygen from industries, particularly steel and petroleum industries.
“The demand for oxygen run by Max as well as all other hospitals dealing with Covid-19 patients has gone up manifolds. The supply of oxygen from the established sources is not able to meet the said demand,” said the court.
At the end of the hearing, the Centre assured “unobstructed passage” of oxygen tankers to states.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by the management of Max Healthcare for supply of oxygen to its hospitals in Delhi. The petitioner told the court that most of the hospitals in the network are working in dangerously low levels of oxygen supply which can lead to adverse patient incident.
“You cannot say that we cannot provide this much. That cannot be an answer from the State. We cannot see people dying. Every 10 days, cases are getting doubled. The ground reality is that there is a shortage today. It is evident. It is there. We cannot shut our eyes,” the HC said.