The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Centre that the national capital must get at least 700 tonnes of oxygen every day, which has been requested by the Delhi government to meet the demands of the Covid patients.
A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah told the Centre: “You will have to give 700 MT oxygen to Delhi.” It added that if nothing is to be hidden, let it come before the nation how allocation and distribution is done transparently by the Centre.
Defending its stand, the Centre’s counsel submitted that the Delhi government is using the institution of the Supreme Court to speak against it. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before the top court that there has to be an audit because there is systemic failure, but it is not against political leadership or officers.
“The Centre was given mandate twice by the people of this country, and we are very much concerned. We cannot be Delhi-centric,” he submitted.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, said it was submitted by Mehta that there is no dearth of oxygen in the country. “Just to emphasise on April 28, there was a 113 percent increase in Delhi demand of oxygen from 490 to 700 MT. Now an attempt is being again made to give less than 560 MT which was given after intervention of this court,” he submitted.
The SG submitted that there needs to be an audit, which is to see Rs 100 is sent to state and to see how it was spent. “I have been saying there has been a systematic failure. Centre has been given mandate this twice and you need not tell us people are dying,” Mehta told Mehra. He added that it is a disaster and disaster is being managed.
“We have to see that there is equitable distribution of resources. I cannot start nit-picking and score debating points. I just don’t want to see more people suffering,” he said.
He argued that the medical oxygen problem in Delhi is the city’s own making. “The problem in Delhi is not because of less supply but serious systemic failure in distribution,” he said.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his administration “won’t let anyone die” of oxygen shortage if it got the earmarked 700 tonnes of oxygen supply every day from the Centre.