Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ has dismissed the petition filed by the Central Government challenging the Karnataka High Court decision directing it to increase the cap on the supply of oxygen to the State of Karnataka with immediate effect to 1200 MT per day.
The High Court had also observed that depending upon the decision taken by the Union Government on the representation, the Court would consider passing further orders during the course of the next week on the quota of oxygen for the State of Karnataka.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had urged before the Court that the issue of allocation is of pan-India concern and allocations would become unworkable if directions are issued under Article 226 of the Constitution. Moreover, the Union Government was willing to engage with the State government and convene a meeting for resolving the demand of the State of Karnataka for the supply of oxygen.
The allocation for the State of Karnataka stood at 802 MTs prior to 30 April 2021 and has been increased to 856 MTs from 1 May 2021 and 965 MTs from 5 May 2021. The minimum requirement of the State, as projected by the State Government on 5 May 2021, was 1162 MT.
The Supreme Court noticed that the High Court had furnished adequate reasons for issuing a calibrated ad-interim direction.
“The direction of the High Court is evidently an ad-interim direction, subject to such calibration as would be necessitated after the State of Karnataka and the Union Government have mutually attempted to resolve the issue. The order of the High Court does not preclude a mutual resolution by the two governments, since the proceedings are still pending.”
The Court said that the order of the High Court was based on the need to maintain at least a minimum requirement as projected by the State Government until a decision on the representation is taken and the High Court is apprised.
[Union of India v. Mohammed Areef Jameel, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 377, order dated 07.05.2021]
For Union of India: Tushar Mehta and Aishwarya Bhati, ASG, Advocates Rajat Nair, Kanu Agrawal, Amit Mahajan, Prashant Singh B, Raj Bahadur Yadav, AOR Mr. Gurmeet Singh Makkar, AOR Mr. B. V. Balaram Das, AOR
For Respondents: Senior Advocates Sajan Poovayya and Devdutt Kamat, AOR Vikram Hegde and Anantha Narayana M.G, Advocates Hima Lawrence, Shantanu Lakhotia, Pratibhanu Kharolla, V.C. Shukla, Aditya Bhat, Anantha Mohan Rao, Ankit Verma.