The bench has directed Delhi to file a reply on the Centre’s plea by Tuesday and will take up the matter on Wednesday. “We have not initiated contempt. That’s the last thing we have on our mind. We know everyone is working hard,” the bench remarked, observing that officials were carrying out their duties despite being infected.
We have not initiated contempt. That’s the last thing we have on our mind. We know everyone is working hard,” the bench remarked, observing that the government officials were carrying out their duties despite being infected.
Delhi government’s counsel Rahul Mehra urged solicitor general Tushar Mehta to withdraw the application, stressing that it would only cause prejudice to Delhi’s citizens. “Prejudice will be caused to the citizens. It’ll cost many lives. Lives have been saved because of the orders. We are very grateful,” said Mehra.
Mehta told the court that Delhi’s allocation had been increased to 590 MT but there ought to be a system in place so that it reaches the capital. “First of all, I must acknowledge the work done by Delhi government officers. They are working overnight, shoulder to shoulder. There is not even a remote suggestion that they are not working. I understand that they are stretched…” he said.
“The Centre is providing tankers. Centre would help… It can’t be a situation where every state starts doing it. Lakshadweep is arranging tankers. A large number of non-industrial states are arranging tankers. What is required is being done,” he said. The solicitor general said the supply chain of liquid medical oxygen was a scenario that was changing every day. He attributed Delhi’s predicament to a “systemic failure” and said he had no intention of hinting at or pointing fingers at anyone.
“When I say systemic failure, I’m not hinting at any government. I do mention, I mean every word of it. Systemic failure is that we have a situation where every hospital comes at the last minute. We are firefighting for them. For a small state like Delhi, can’t there be a system where all hospitals make real-time data available to the state government that 12 or six hours down the line, we would need oxygen? Systemic failure doesn’t mean the state has failed,” said Mehta.
The court directed Delhi government’s lawyer, advocate Satyakam, to immediately take up the pleas of the hospitals.