Why Madhya Pradesh allocated more oxygen than demanded, not Delhi, high court asks Centre
The Delhi high court on Thursday asked the Centre why Madhya Pradesh was allocated more oxygen than what was demanded while Delhi's demand was not met. "We are not saying that people in the other parts of the country should die. But if the demand of a particular state is x, then why did you give it x+y? Why don't you give y to Delhi?" a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli observed. The court, however, clarified in its order that it's not making any finding and it would be done only when the Centre has given its submissions.
The court was told that Madhya Pradesh was allocated 540 MT oxygen while it demanded 445 MT. Maharashtra was allocated 1661 MT, while the demand was for 1,500 MT.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Centre will respond to the court's query and will give the reasons for giving more oxygen to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He said there are other states, including Gujarat, which have been allocated less than the demand.
As the high court was hearing a case related to the Capital's oxygen shortage, it asked the police to release oxygen cylinders and Remdesivir they seize as they can be used in the treatment of Covid-19. The police should not seize cylinders from individuals as they may have bought them at an exorbitant price in an emergency situation, the judge said. "Whenever any seizure is made, the IOs (investigating officers) should immediately inform the DCs (deputy commissioners) and also ascertain the genuineness of medicine. The medicine should also be immediately put in a refrigerated environment. We also direct the Delhi Police to not seize any cylinder or medicine from patients or attendants. It goes without saying that Delhi Police would be bound to conduct an investigation with the cooperation of the public at large," the court said.
Essential medicines and oxygen cylinders cannot be kept as 'case properties' and instead should be put back into circulation, the court observed.