HC asks Delhi govt to respond to Centre's plea to recall court order to supply allocated oxygen

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New Delhi, May 2 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Sunday asked the Delhi government to file a reply to a Centre's plea seeking recall of a court order to supply the entire oxygen allocated to the national capital by 'whatever means' to treat COVID-19 patients or face contempt.

A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, which held a special hearing on a holiday, issued a notice to the Delhi government and asked it to file its response by Wednesday.

The court said it will hear this particular application of the Centre on Thursday, while other issues will be heard on Monday.

The bench was hearing an application by the central government seeking recall of its May 1 order directing supply of the entire 490 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen allocated to Delhi and warning of contempt action for failure to do so.

The central government said its officials are working hard and such orders would have a demoralising effect on them.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the Delhi government has been found 'completely wanting in making any efforts whatsoever to arrange for the transport of the quantity allocated to it except for a few tankers'.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, opposed the contentions in the application, saying the allocated amount of oxygen was never made available to the national capital.

The hearing started at 3 pm and went on for over two and a half hours.

On May 1, anguished by the deaths of eight COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, at the Batra Hospital here due to a shortage of oxygen, the court had directed the Centre to ensure that the national capital receives its allocated share of 490 MT of the life-saving gas during the day and said 'enough is enough', 'much water has gone above the head'.

The bench had said the Centre has to ensure that Delhi receives its allocated amount of oxygen 'by whatever means' and warned that failure to do so could lead to contempt action. PTI SKV HMP SKV ANB ANB