On Wednesday, the Centre moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing against the Delhi High Court order which warned of initiating contempt action against it. While mentioning the case, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it is unfortunate that the HC issued a show-cause notice when the Union government and its officers are doing their best. Stressing that the matter of oxygen supply to states is a pan-India issue, he requested the bench led by CJI NV Ramana to hear it today itself. After a direction to the Registry, the matter will now come up for hearing before the bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat at 12.30 pm.
Owing to a continuous rise in cases, many hospitals across the country are witnessing a shortage of beds, oxygen and key drugs such as Remdesivir. A day earlier, the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a bunch of pleas pertaining to the supply of oxygen to Delhi. It pulled up the Centre for not complying with the Supreme Court's order dated April 30 as Delhi is still not receiving 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day.
Therefore, it directed the Centre to show cause why contempt action should not be initiated for non-compliance of the SC order and its short order dated May 1. Moreover, Piyush Goyal and Sumita Dawra, additional secretaries in the Ministries of Home Affairs and Industrial Promotion respectively, were asked to remain present on Wednesday for answering the notice. At present, there are 90,419 novel coronavirus cases in Delhi while 11,24,771 patients have been discharged and 17,752 fatalities have been reported.
The Delhi HC observed, "It pains us that the aspect of supply of liquid medical oxygen for treatment of covid patients in Delhi should be viewed in the way it has been done by the Central Government. 27. We are facing the grim reality every day of people not being able to secure oxygen beds or ICU beds. The situation has come to this that hospitals and nursing homes have had to reduce the number of beds offered by them because they are not able to service their existing capacities, due to shortage of medical oxygen. On the one hand, there is a need to augment the capacities to meet with the rising numbers of COVID-19 positive cases; while on the other hand, the existing infrastructure is crumbling and the bed capacity, even though available, cannot be put to its full use."