In response to an urgent petition filed in Delhi High Court by Max Hospital highlighting acute oxygen deficiency, a bench comprising of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli held a special sitting on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The bench severely reprimanded the Central Government for granting exemptions to the steel and petroleum industries, thus prohibiting the use of oxygen for industrial purposes for medical purposes.
"If necessary, Centre should divert entire supply from industries particularly steel and petroleum. If Tatas can divert their oxygen, why can't others do it? This is the height of greed, if we can say that. There is no humanity left or what? How is this that the government is so oblivious to the ground reality? We can't have people die? The reality is that there is no oxygen. You have to arrange. Hospitals have run dry.", the bench told the respondents of the central government, reported Live Law.
After India's Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, submitted that the ban on industrial oxygen is delayed until April 22 because technologically, factories need 72 hours to shut down their operations, the Bench remarked, "Citizen can only fall back on the State. So you have to beg, borrow or steal and ensure the protection of fundamental emergency."
SGI Mr Mehta had requested for an adjournment until the next day, but the court turned it down, stating, "We can take this matter tomorrow. But in the meantime, if there are any casualties tonight, it is your responsibility." However, after Ms Sumita Dawra, the Additional Secretary in charge of medical oxygen allocation, told the court that the amount of oxygen available in the NCT of Delhi has been increased from 370 to 480 MT, and after SGI assured the court that the central government will ensure the safe passage of medical oxygen tankers to Delhi, the bench approved the draft order and stated that Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi shall immediately work out the logistics of the internal distributions of allotment. The bench was told during the hearing that Max Hospital, Patparganj, and Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh had met the requirement for oxygen supplies.