SC sets up National Task Force for oxygen allocation across all States, UTs
The court has also made it very clear, that the Centre is bound to supply 700 metric tons of oxygen to Delhi on a daily basis
The Supreme Court has set up a 12-member National Task Force for formulating a methodology for scientific allocation of oxygen to all the States and Union Territories in order to deal with the scarcity of oxygen. The tenure has been fixed for six months.
As per the Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, the Task force would consist of:
- Dr. Bhabatosh Biswas, Former Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata
- Dr. Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
- Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru
- Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
- Dr. JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
- Dr. Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram
- Dr. Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund (Mumbai, Maharashtra) and Kalyan (Maharashtra)
- Dr. Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
- Dr. Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), Delhi
- Dr. Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai
- Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (ex officio member); and
- The Convenor of the National Task Force, who shall also be a member, will be the Cabinet Secretary to the Union Government
The Supreme Court has said that the purpose behind this Task Force would be to facilitate “a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge.” In addition to this, the court has also said that, “We expect that the leading experts in the country shall associate with the work of the Task Force both as members and resource persons. This will facilitate a meeting of minds and the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with an unprecedented human crisis.”
In the meantime, the Union Government has been directed to allocate oxygen to different States as per their respective needs until the Task Force gets started on their recommendations. The order reads, “The Union Government shall continue with the present practice of making allocations of oxygen (as modified by the orders of this Court or the orders of the High Courts as the case may be) until the Task Force has submitted its recommendations in regard to proposed modalities. The Union Government shall on receipt of the recommendations of the Task Force take an appropriate decision in regard to the allocation of oxygen and on all other recommendations.”
Directions regarding supply of oxygen to Delhi
The Supreme Court noted the submission of Senior Counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi, that he welcomed the supply of 730.7 metric tons of oxygen from the Central government on May 5 but the next day, the National Capital received a total quantity of 189.532 metric tons as of 9 A.M. A quantity of 16.32 metric tons was in transit to the knowledge of GNCTD, resulting in a total availability of only 206 metric tons (approximately).
The Supreme Court sternly observed that the Centre Government has been, time and again, directed to fulfil the demand of 700 metric tons of oxygen supply to Delhi. “The directions contained in the order of this Court dated 30 April 2021 leave no manner of doubt that the Union Government is under an obligation to ensure a daily supply of 700 MT to meet the existing requirements of the NCTD”, remarked the court.
The Supreme Court, on May 5, had reiterated the direction for maintaining the supplies to Delhi at 700 metric tons per day and had directed the Centre to place on record a plan to achieve the fulfilment of this direction.
The court has now held, “The plan which has been placed before this Court is subject to caveats and conditions which cannot be accepted. What is sought to be assured in the first part of the plan is diluted with the next segment. 700 MT was not intended to be a requirement to be fulfilled for one day or sporadically, but on a daily basis. Daily basis means for every day.”
The court also recorded that as of 9 A.M on May 7, the total quantity which has been received at the Delhi border is 87.97 metric tons, while 9.64 metric tons was under transit. “We direct the Union of India to remedy the situation forthwith and to ensure that the direction issued by this Court for the availability of 700 MT is strictly observed on a daily basis, pending further orders”, ordered the court.
Courtesy : Sabrang