COVID: HC appeals citizens not to hoard oxygen cylinders, medicines; make available to needy

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday appealed to the citizens not to hoard oxygen cylinders and medicines required for COVID-19 patients, as it leads to artificial scarcity, and to make them available to people in need.

“The nation is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is in times like these that we the people need to stand up and showcase our qualities and virtues which all of us have. We appeal to the good sense of people not to resort to black marketing and hoarding of oxygen cylinders, flow meters or medicines and to make them available to the needy.

“Hoarding of medicines or oxygen leads to artificial scarcity to an extent which may not be safe,” a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said.

During the hearing, senior advocate Raj Shekhar Rao, who was appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter of oxygen crisis and other issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighted the 'harassment' being faced by individuals at the hands of police while procuring oxygen and the 'scams that were going on' in the name of essential medicines.

The court asked the authorities to look into this aspect.

The court was also informed by senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, that there have been occasions where frantic calls were received from hospitals and nursing homes for oxygen supply and on visits, it was found that the situation was not like that.

The court said it expects the hospitals not to raise such alarms as this increases the burden on the system and such conduct will also erode the faith of officers dealing with the situation in responding to SOS calls.

It also referred to an incident that occurred at Apollo Hospital on Tuesday where the hospital staff was assaulted by the relatives of some patients and said such occurrences are bound to demoralise the medical community which is serving the country tirelessly.

The court said that it hopes such incidents will not be repeated.

“The authorities and police shall also be mindful of such conduct and be vigilant to any untoward incident,” it said. PTI SKV RT