New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday (April 29) issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a PIL filed by some lawyers with regards to COVID medical facility for judicial officers and their families. The court also noted that two judicial officers recently died due to the COVID-19.
Earlier in the day, the High Court questioned the Centre as to why various states, including Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, were being allocated more oxygen than they demanded while the national capital was not getting even the quantity necessary for treating COVID-19 patients.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli made it clear that it was by no means interested in securing more oxygen for Delhi than required and that too at the cost of any state or Union Territory.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, said that while the national capital’s requirement was 700 MT per day, it was allocated 480 and 490 MT and the Centre has not increased it.
Mehra and senior advocate Raj Shekhar Rao, who is amicus curiae in the case, informed the court that as per the national allocation plan, Maharashtra demanded 1500 Metric Tonnes (MT) of oxygen per day and was allocated 1661 MT; similarly, Madhya Pradesh demanded 445 MT and it was allocated 543 MT and that the situation was similar for several other states.
The court said that if the information provided was to be accepted, it would appear that the central government needed to explain this aspect and granted it a day to respond.
The Centre has to either show some justification for this or “make amends” now that the situation has been brought to its attention, the high court said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said the government will file an affidavit on the court’s query and will give the reasons for giving more oxygen to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra if that is the case. “There are states which received less than what they had asked for. We have been rationalising,” he said.
When the court asked a senior central government officer as to why Delhi’s supply was out of line while MP and Maharashtra were given more oxygen, Mehta said the population of MP was more than the national capital.
Delhi government counsel also projected before the court, the position of ICU and non-ICU beds here. Mehra said there are currently 16,272 non-ICU beds and 4,866 ICU beds and they are in the process of adding more beds.
The existing oxygen demand in hospitals is 704 MT per day and after further augmentation, the daily oxygen demand will be around 1000 MT, he said, adding that his grievance was the allocation of 480-490 MT oxygen was far less than Delhi’s requirement.
The solicitor general said more tankers are being imported to transport oxygen and it was a matter of few days and once the logistical issues get settled, the Centre will ensure whatever maximum supply is possible will be given.
When the bench pointed out that 25 per cent more oxygen was supplied to MP than its demand, Mehta said there must be some reason why MP was given more oxygen and urged the court not to go into pan India allocation.
Release Remdesivir seized by police for use in hospitals
The Delhi High Court also directed the deputy commissioner (DC) of the AAP government’s revenue department to issue orders for the release of Remdesivir, used in the treatment of COVID-19, as soon as the medicine is seized by the police from hoarders and black-marketeers.
A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli issued the direction to ensure that the seized medicine does not remain as case property, does not lose its effectiveness and can be administered to the patients in need.
The court further said once a seizure was made, the investigating officer (IO) shall immediately inform the DC of the same, adding that the IO shall also ascertain that the seized medicine is genuine and ensure that it is kept in a refrigerated environment to maintain its effectiveness till it is released to a hospital or a COVID health centre.
A similar direction was issued by the court with regard to the use of oxygen cylinders seized by the police during raids.
(With PTI Inputs)
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