Delhi High court in a scathing attack on the Modi government ordered the Centre to “forthwith” provide oxygen by whatever means to hospitals here facing shortage of the gas in treating serious COVID-19 patients, observing it “seems human life is not important for the state”.
You are not exploring all avenues to augment oxygen supply. Beg, borrow or steal,” the court told the Centre, and asked why is it not waking up to the gravity of the emergency situation.
It also warned that certainly all hell will break loose with the stoppage of medical oxygen to the hospitals.
The court was conducting an urgent hearing on a public holiday on a plea filed by Balaji Medical and Research Centre, which owns and runs various hospitals in the name of Max, stating that if supply of oxygen is not replenished on an immediate basis, the lives of the patients who are critical and on oxygen support will be endangered.
“Do you want to see thousands of people dying in the country?” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli asked, as it came down heavily on the Centre for not diverting sufficient oxygen supply from industries to hospitals.
During the extraordinary hearing, the court said the responsibility to ensure oxygen supply lay squarely on the Central government’s shoulders and if necessary, entire supply of oxygen to industries including steel and petroleum can be diverted for medical usage.
“Why is the Centre not waking up to the gravity of the situation? We are shocked and dismayed hospitals running out of oxygen but steel plants are running,” the court said, and added “how the government can be so oblivious of the reality”.
“There is no sense of humanity left or what? This is really really ridiculous and shocking. You are concerned about industries when people are dying. It an emergency you should realize. It seems human life is not important for the state.”
The court directed the Central government to protect the fundamental right to life of citizens who are seriously ill and require medical oxygen and to supply the same by whatever means it is required.