Supreme Court asks Centre for national plan on oxygen supply, vaccination as Covid-19 crisis reaches peak
The Supreme Court on Thursday took a suo motu cognisance of the present Covid-19 situation of the country, including oxygen and essential drugs supply, vaccination, lockdown etc., and asked the Centre to present a national plan on Covid-19 management, covering all these issues. The apex court will take up the matter for hearing again on Friday.
Noting that at least six high courts are hearing matters pertaining to Covid-19 management, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said this is creating some confusion and diversion. The CJI said the apex court wants to issue notice for a national plan which includes four issues: supply of oxygen, supply of essential drugs, the method and manner of vaccination and the power to declare lockdowns.
"We as a court wish to take suo motu cognisance of certain issues. We find that there are 6 High Courts -Delhi, Bombay, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Calcutta and Allahabad. They are exercising jurisdiction in their best interest. We appreciate that. But it is creating confusion and diversion of resources," the CJI said.
The development comes ahead of the Delhi high court's hearing of a case related to the oxygen supply in the hospitals of the Capital, scheduled at 3pm. Hearing a petition filed by Max Healthcare on Wednesday, the Delhi high court questioned why the Centre is not diverting oxygen from petroleum and steel industries for medical exigencies when corporates are doing that.
"We don't care, beg, borrow, steal or requisition new plants if you want," said the judges asking the Centre to ensure oxygen supply for Covid-19 treatment.
Since February, the Covid-19 situation in the country has been worsening steadily. On Thursday, India recorded 3.14 lakh new infections, which is the highest daily rise recorded in any country. Shortage of beds, oxygen has made the situation more precarious and many states have announced lockdowns.