Won’t hesitate to ‘hang’ anyone found obstructing oxygen supplies, warns Delhi High Court

A patient receives oxygen outside a gurdwara in New Delhi on April 24, 2021.

A patient receives oxygen outside a gurdwara in New Delhi on April 24, 2021.

With many hospitals in the national capital expressing urgent need amid dire shortage of oxygen for serious COVID patients, the Delhi High Court on Saturday warned that it will not hesitate to “hang” anyone who is found obstructing oxygen supplies.

“We will not spare anyone,” a bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli remarked during another special hearing on Saturday following urgent petitions filed by Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Jaipur Golden Hospital and others on shortage of oxygen.


“The problem that Delhi continues to face arises primarily on account of the fact that the supply of oxygen to Delhi even at the allocated rate of 480 MT per day is not taking place,” the High Court noted.

“You (Centre) had assured us (on April 21) that 480 MT per day will reach Delhi. Tell us when will it come? We want a definitive date,” the bench said, adding that COVID patients in Delhi cannot be left to die like this.

In its response, the Centre said, one of the primary reason is that three of the plants from which oxygen is to be supplied are situated at Rourkela, Durgapur and Kalinganagar.

While empty cryogenic tnks have been airlifted and are in the process of being filled with liquid oxygen from Durgapur, the High Court was informed that Delhi government has not made arrangements for cryogenic tanks for supplies from Rourkela and Kalinganagar.

The High Court remarked that the efforts the Delhi government has to make here “cannot be trivialized, and they should not leave it entirely to the Central Government to act in this regard”.


Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, contended that the suppliers providing oxygen to Delhi, are not providing details of the quantity of supplied to various hospitals within the city.

“We direct all the suppliers to provide complete details of the oxygen that they supply in the NCT of Delhi of the hospitals to which they are supplied; the time at which they are supplied; and the quantities which they supply,” the court ordered.

With the experts in the field claiming that the peak of the present wave is yet to be reached, the High Court asked the Central and Delhi government to consider augmentation of resources.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Centre is “alive to this situation, and at the highest level, the matter is being considered for provision of adequate infrastructure such as hospital beds, equipment, oxygen, medical and para-medical staff to deal with the situation as and when it arises”.

The hospitals, which had moved the High Court, expressed their dire need for oxygen on immediate basis, since they have several patients in ICU, and their lives are at stake.

Taking note of their plea, the court directed the Nodal Officer of the Delhi government to take into account all the demands made by hospitals/ nursing homes while allocating the Oxygen that is received during the day.

The next hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 8:07:01 pm |