Del HC | Ensure strict compliance of oxygen supply orders or face contempt, criminal, penal action; Provide adequate security to lorries transporting oxygen: HC to Authorities and Centre

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, JJ.,  asked Central Government to ensure supplies from all oxygen-producing plants to Delhi as per the allocation order.

When the matter was taken up on 21-04-2020, Court noted that about 200-250 MT of Medical Oxygen had been received during the day and till the time the order was passed.

It appeared that 140 MT of Medical Oxygen had been allocated to be supplied from the plant Air Liquide, Panipat was being obstructed by the local authorities.

NCT of Delhi’s position has turned precarious with several hospitals reporting either complete exhaustion of Oxygen, or depletion to the level that it may not last even for the next few hours.

Senior Advocate, Tushar Rao pointed out that Mrs Poonam Kalra who was in a serious condition had been asked by the U.K. Nursing Home to go to some other hospital, since the hospital was running out of oxygen. Similar position was noted in Aakash Hospital, Dwarka.

Court was informed that Panipat authorities were obstructing the lifting and transportation of oxygen from Air Liquide, Panipat.

Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Piyush Goel stated that the officials in the State of Haryana were persuaded to abide by the Allocation Order and the Order passed by Disaster Management Act on 22-04-2021. Yet, the position is unsatisfactory and obstructions appear to continue.

In view of the above, High Court directed the Central Government to peremptorily ensure strict compliance of the Allocation Order dated 21-04-2021, its own order passed on 22-04-2021 under the Disaster Management Act and Court’s order dated 21-04-2021.

Authorities concerned have also been directed to ensure strict compliance with the above-stated Orders. And in case the Orders will not be complied strictly, the same would be taken very seriously since the result of non-compliance would be grave loss of life.

Non-Compliance will also invite action for contempt of Court and criminal and penal action under the Disaster Management Act and under the Penal Code, 1860.

Centre shall also ensure the supplies from all the oxygen-producing plants, as per the allocation order, is made and transportation takes place without any hindrance.

Adequate security to be provided to the lorries transporting oxygen by the Central Government and for the said purpose a special corridor to be created for the immediate transportation of the oxygen. [Rakesh Malhotra v. GNCTD, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1822, decided on 22-04-2021]

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