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Oxygen crisis in Delhi: Supreme Court puts on hold High Court’s contempt notice, gives Centre 10:30 am tomorrow’s deadline

When the Centre claimed that Delhi can manage with 500 MT Oxygen, the court reminded that its order was for 700 MT.

The Supreme Court of India today put on hold the contempt notice issued to the Centre by the Delhi High Court for not complying with its direction with regards to the ongoing Oxygen crisis in the national capital. The apex court was hearing the Centre’s appeal against the High Court’s order and seeking the personal appearance of its officials for non-compliance.

The top court noted that putting officers in jail is not going to bring oxygen to Delhi. It asked the Centre about the supply it has made to the national capital since May 3. The Supreme Court asked the Centre to submit a plan detailing the steps to meet the 700 MT Oxygen target by 10.30 am tomorrow.

The Centre submitted that 483 MT oxygen was supplied to Delhi on May 3 and 585 MT on May 4. The court asked the Centre to inform it what modalities will be put in place to secure 700 MT oxygen for Delhi.

The top court also asked the Delhi and Centre to consider the Mumbai Modal where the BMC has done some remarkable work with regards to the COVID-19 and Oxygen management. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Centre said that the total oxygen consumption was less in Mumbai than in Delhi. “We had requested Mumbai to send their model so that we can implement this for other states. It is the case of Delhi that they need 700 MT,” he said.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud and comprising justice M R Shah said that it had ordered the supply of 700 MT oxygen to Delhi daily from May 3 as the pandemic in Delhi is at a very critical stage.

When the Centre claimed that Delhi can manage with 500 MT Oxygen, the court reminded that its order was for 700 MT and 550 will not solve the city’s problem. The top court asked the Centre to inform it from today and Monday what modalities will be put in place to secure 700 MT oxygen for Delhi. “Rest we can re-look at on 10th May,” said Justice Chandrachud.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that this is not adversarial litigation and the Centre and Delhi governments are doing their best to serve COVID-19 patients.

Justice D Y Chandrachud noted that the situation in Delhi is not getting better with 500 MT. He said that lawyers are crying for help and requesting us to step in.

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