Expect Rajasthan govt to honour orders on no obstruction to medical oxygen tankers, says Delhi HC

The Bench said that just like the Central government has worked out an oxygen distribution plan for the whole country, the Delhi government can have such a plan for the national capital

The Delhi High Court on April 26 said it expects the Rajasthan government to honour the orders not to obstruct cryogenic tankers carrying medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients to other States observing that any obstruction at this stage will tantamount to endangering hundreds of human lives.

A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, conducting a three-and-a-half-hour long hearing on the oxygen crisis, said no purpose would be served by causing such obstructions.

“We hope and expect the State of Rajasthan to honour the orders passed by the court and the Central government. An obstruction in the matter of liquid oxygen at this stage will tantamount to endangering hundreds of human lives. It will serve no purpose to anyone to obstruct,” the Bench said, adding that the stoppage of tankers will have a snowballing effect.

The remarks by the Bench came after INOX, which supplies oxygen to Delhi, said that some of its tankers were stopped by the Rajasthan government and are yet to be released.

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta told the court that strict action would be taken against those who stopped the tankers and the same would be released.

“Consequences would follow, We will set an example,” he said during the hearing.

The High Court also directed all the refillers of oxygen cylinders in Delhi to be present at the hearing on Tuesday following complaints of non-availability of gas cylinders and black marketing.

The Bench said it has received information that refillers were selling oxygen sellers at high rates, like ₹1 lakh, in the black market and directed the Delhi government to take action against such persons.

“Oxygen cylinder distribution is your baby. You have powers, exercise them. If someone is engaging in black marketing, take action. Bring them before us,” the court said.

The Delhi government said that before taking any action it will need the information from the refillers with regard to the deliveries made by them, but if it sends a show cause notice seeking such details, it is viewed as harsh.

The court, thereafter, directed that refillers have to comply with its earlier order to provide details of the deliveries made by them to hospitals and others.

It also asked the Delhi Chief Secretary, who was present at the hearing, to hold a meeting with oxygen suppliers, refillers and hospitals during the day to work out a distribution plan.

The Bench said that just like the Central government has worked out an oxygen distribution plan for the whole country, the Delhi government can have such a plan for the national capital.

It said the meeting can be held in the evening at around 5 p.m.

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